Xcel narrows down Huntley Wilmarth power line routes

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Xcel narrows down Huntley Wilmarth power line routes

December 16, 2017

MANKATO — Xcel Energy is close to submitting potential routes for an upcoming large-scale regional power line project.

The company has narrowed its list of places a new 345-kilowatt power line could run to four possible routes — two of which would run either east or west of the Mankato area and have garnered protest from local officials.

Those routes will be part of Xcel's application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which has final say on how this project moves forward. Xcel officials will submit documentation, including a route permit application, to the state next month.

 

"This is really just the start of the process," said Tim Carlsgaard, communications manager for Xcel.

The project involves connecting the the Wilmarth substation northeast of Mankato to the ITC Midwest-owned Huntley Substation near Blue Earth, which would move power from wind energy projects in the region. The line would run 40 to 50 miles.

The project has been in the works since 2009, when energy experts saw a need for more power lines in the area as an increasing number of wind projects cleared state, national and international regulations. It would be more difficult to move energy from those projects to power stations without an additional line, which could help cut down on expenses for companies and consumers alike.

Xcel began public outreach efforts this summer through presentations to area governments and several open houses where residents could share their concerns. Yet city officials expressed concerns as some potential routes cut through future developments or through neighborhoods where residents opposed the line.

"Some of the segments included in the application to the PUC are still concerning to the city," North Mankato Administrator John Harrenstein said in an email. "We recognize Xcel must provide options for the PUC to consider and continue to recommend the segments that are of concern to North Mankato not be identified as a preferred route by Xcel during the application process."

SOURCE:  Mankato Free Press

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