Under our EnergyForward strategy, we are committed to delivering reliable, affordable and cleaner energy to our customers. We have made significant changes to our generation mix, including the retirement of several small coal units, and now half of the energy we deliver comes from renewable sources. In order to maintain a continuous supply of safe and reliable electricty, we are investing in our transmission infrastructure to enhance the stability of our electric system in the communities we serve.
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Missed the January Virtual Outreach events? View a recording of the Virtual Community Meeting and access the Virtual Open House in the Outreach Materials Section below.
About the project
This project will enhance reliability by building an additional transmission source to communities in and around Duluth and along the North Shore.
The Duluth Loop Reliability Project includes three components:
- Construction of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line between the Ridgeview and Hilltop substations.
- Construction of approximately one-mile extension of an existing 230kV transmission line, connecting to the Arrowhead substation.
- Upgrades to the Ridgeview, Hilltop, and Arrowhead substations.
Enhance Energy Reliability
The project will enhance energy reliability for communities in Duluth and the North Shore by adding transmission to the area.
Replace Grid Strength and Stability
The project will replace grid strength and stability that was once provided by local coal-fired generation.
Study Area & Corridors
Minnesota Power developed the Study Area and Study Corridors to meet the needs of the Project. The Study Area was delineated to include the project endpoints (project substations) and routing opportunity features found between the endpoints, such as existing transmission lines and other linear infrastructure. These existing features have been highlighted as Study Corridors. In March 2021, Route Options will be developed within this Study Area and along the Study Corridors.
We are collecting information about the Study Corridors. Add a comment to provide our team information about your area. For best results, view map in Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.
115 kV Project Endpoint
230 kV Project Endpoint
The structure types and specifications shown below are preliminary and subject to change. Other structure types may be used depending on final route location.
Typical 115kV Structure
Typical Height: 50-80 feet
Typical Span: 500-1,000 feet
Foundation Type: direct embed
Typical Right-of-Way: 100 feet
Typical 230kV Structure
Typical Height: 60-100 feet
Typical Span: 500-1,000 feet
Foundation Type: direct embed
Typical Right-of-Way: 130 feet
The structure figures shown here are wood pole H-Frame tangent type structures which are anticipated to be common on new lines. Less common structure configurations including but not limited to deadends, angles, crossings, transpositions, and double circuits may also be necessary and may consist of wood pole, guyed wood pole, or steel pole type structures not pictured here. Typical structure heights and spans indicate the average expected values for the majority of structures of this type based on similar facilities. Actual heights and spans are a function of structure type, wire type, wire tension, voltage, route, and topography. Actual span lengths and structure heights may vary outside typical values as necessary.
The planning, development and construction schedule is subject to change based on weather, the availability of equipment and materials, the impact of COVID-19 and other potentially unforeseen events.
What is the Duluth Loop Reliability Project?
The Duluth Loop Reliability Project includes new transmission line construction and associated system upgrades which will enhance reliability by building an additional transmission source to communities in and around Duluth and along the North Shore. The project includes:
- Construction of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line between the Ridgeview and Hilltop substations
- Construction of approximately one-mile extension of an existing 230kV transmission line, connecting to the Arrowhead Substation
- Upgrades to the Ridgeview, Hilltop, and Arrowhead substation
By 2025, the new Duluth Loop Reliability Project will be completed and serving our community.
What are the project benefits?
The Duluth Loop Reliability Project will enhance energy reliability for communities in Duluth and the North Shore by adding transmission in the area replace grid strength and stability that was once provided by local coal-fired generation.
Who will benefit from the Duluth Loop Reliability Project?
Many customers within our project Study Area and in communities along the North Shore will directly benefit from the Duluth Loop Reliability Project. This includes many industrial, commercial, and residential customers who will benefit from enhanced reliability provided by this project.
Why is Minnesota Power building a new transmission line?
50% of our energy comes from renewable sources and we will continue to invest in affordable, reliable and increasingly carbon-free sources of energy for the communities we serve.
As part of our clean energy commitment, we’ve reduced our reliance on coal-fired generation. In order to maintain a continuous supply of safe and reliable electricity, we must replace the support those coal plants once supplied to our system. To do this, we’re connecting transmission lines to enhance stability and reliability in our communities.
Where will the new line be located?
The Duluth Loop will be located within the Study Area. Using an integrated routing process collecting data and input to identify the best opportunities to route a new transmission line, we need to identify locations three aspects of the project, including:
- A location for an approximately 14-mile 115 kV line between the Hilltop substation (southern substation) and the Ridgeview substation (north east substation).
- A location for an approximately 1-mile line 230 kV line from the existing line to the Arrowhead substation (south east substation).
- Expansion areas at the Hilltop and Ridgeview substations to provide space for new equipment for the new transmission lines.
What is the timeline of the Project?
We started the early data collection for the project in fall 2020 and anticipate a five-year timeline for route develop through construction including:
- 2021: Routing, public engagement and permitting
- 2022: Permitting and environmental surveys
- 2023 - 2025: Engineering, environmental & land surveys, real estate, construction
- 2025: Project compete
What will the structures look like and how tall will they be?
We are very early in this process. The specific type and size of structures to be used will depend on the routes identified in this process. We anticipate the use of wood pole H-frame structures and steel pole structures similar in appearance to existing transmission lines in the area. For a typical 115kV line H-frame, the structures will range 50 – 80 ft in height, span between 500 to 1000 ft apart and require approximately 100-ft of right-of-way.
Are you planning to install fiber optics on the line?
Preliminary plans are to install fiber optics on new transmission lines. However, this ultimately depends on the final transmission line configurations and whether existing fiber optic infrastructure can be used to meet communication needs.
Why is your public engagement virtual?
The project team is committed to engaging the public with meaningful interactions and conversions while also reducing the spread of COVID-19. Minnesota Power is following state guidelines regarding social distancing and public gatherings.
What is the purpose of holding public meetings?
The purpose of public outreach is for stakeholders and landowners to learn about the project and routing process, ask questions and provide input on routing opportunities and sensitivities. We encourage participation and we hold these public meetings and engagement opportunities to learn more about the Study Area and Study Corridors from the public’s perspective. The timing and need for the public meetings align with the routing process. The project team anticipates holding a second phase of engagement opportunities in March 2020 to gather input on route options.
Maps and Documents
Minnesota Power developed a Study Area and Study Corridors to meet the needs of the Project.
Download a detailed map of your area.