North Dakota xmsn complete — more coal on the wires!

Filed under:News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,RUS EIS — posted by admin on August 3, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

Hearing Ex. 13, Big Picture Map

See that line up there going through North Dakota?  They’ve just finished it, it’s ready to energize.  And of course, it’s clear that now that Minnesota Power has bought the DC line that’s been used for coal, that now the coal will go over CapX lines off through Minnesota to Wisconsin and points east.  HUH?  Yes, they allude to in a “We’ve completed this new transmission line” article it not-so-subtly:

The reassignment of an existing transmission line also means more transmission facilities are needed.

… and:

“Once built, the bulk flow of electricity moves to the new line, which frees up capacity on the underlying system.”


The USDA/RUS documents say it very clearly:

Minnkota has proposed the construction of approximately 260 miles of 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Center to Grand Forks, N.D., to deliver additional energy recently secured from Milton R. Young 2, a 455-megawatt (MW) coal-fi red plant near Center, N.D., owned by Square Butte Electric Cooperative.

… and this:

To bring the energy generated by Young 2 into the Red River Valley, Minnkota will construct a new 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Center to Grand Forks. Building the new transmission line will enablethe existing DC transmission line from theMilton R. Young Station to carry more renewable wind energy.

Here’s that original RUS document:

Scoping Report_Appendix I

There’s still the shifted coal into the Eastern Interconnect and proposed expansions to deal with — those mentioned in the federal opinion tossing out the 2007 “Next Generation Energy Act” saying “no go” under the Commerce Clause:

  • Read the April 18, 2014 decision, ND-v-Heydinger-in-11-cv-3232, declaring the Next Generation Energy Act unconstitutional.  First, the decision notes that the Dry Fork coal plant has been moved from the West into the Eastern Interconnect (it’s “new coal” now on transmission heading our way that wasn’t coming here before).
  • Second, also in that decision, it discusses plans for a new coal fired plant in South Dakota.
  • And third, it notes the potential for an additional unit at Dry Fork, which is now in Eastern Interconnect (coming our way).
  • Fourth, it discusses the surplus at Milton Young, which would be exacerbated by transmission prohibitions of the Next Generation Energy Act.  This fourth item is addressed by this Center, ND to Grand Forks, ND transmission project.

Very logical, makes a lot of sense.  It’s not like Minnesota Power’s taking that line would make them shut down a coal plant!

So now we have one more transmission line in the superhighway from the Dakotas to Madison and beyond…

250-mile transmission line to Grand Forks completed

Minnkota Power Cooperative’s 345-kilovolt line spans from near Center, N.D., to Grand Forks, where the co-op is based. The $353 million project began construction more than two years ago, according to a news release.

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