Addition of transmission lines possible
SLAYTON -- Representatives from Xcel Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) attended a public meeting in Slayton on Wednesday to discuss the need for three more 115kV transmission lines in southwest Minnesota -- one of them propose...
SLAYTON -- Representatives from Xcel Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) attended a public meeting in Slayton on Wednesday to discuss the need for three more 115kV transmission lines in southwest Minnesota -- one of them proposed to run through Nobles and Murray Counties.
Although specific routes have not been proposed, Xcel Energy wants to put up lines from the substation in Reading to the Fenton substation near Chandler, from the Lake Yankton substation near Balaton to a new substation near Marshall, and from the Yankee substation near Hendricks to the South Dakota border.
"They would be similar to the ones that were just built," Jim Alder of Xcel Energy said during Wednesday's meeting. "The lines will allow for more turbines to be built in this area."
Alder admitted the lines that just went up were full to capacity as soon as they were brought online, but the new ones would not be.
"But they won't last forever," he added. "We will need additional 115 kV lines as more turbines go up."
A Certificate of Need Application was filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in December of 2006 to request permission to build, own and operate the proposed lines.
"These three lines would do two things," said Adam Sokolski of the DOC. "Increase the capacity to export more energy from the Buffalo Ridge wind turbines and resolve electric reliability issues in the city of Marshall."
Sokolski and DOC staff will prepare an environmental review, which includes a series of public meeting in the affected areas. The review is to look at the proposed project, alternatives to the project, an assessment of impacts on human settlement and land based economics and natural environment.
The review will not consider the impacts associated with specific routes within the proposed corridors. Site-specific concerns will be addressed in the subsequent route permitting process.
Xcel Energy encourages citizens to get involved in the process by attending meetings and commenting during the process.
"There is a lot of opportunity for public involvement," Alder said. "We want to keep everyone informed and get as much information to the public as possible."
The certificate of need process can take six to nine months, as can the routing process.
"Our overall goal is to get through the permitting process and have a 2010 or 2011 time frame for building," Alder said.
When asked who residents should turn to of there were any stray voltage problems, Alder said the lines are designed and engineered to prevent stray voltage, but if anyone thought they were having a problem, they should call Xcel.
"We'll come out and measure," he said.
The comment period on the certificate of need lasts until March 14. Once the scope is determined, the DOC staff will prepare the review, which will be introduced into the record at a public hearing to be scheduled at a later date.
Written comments on the environmental review or other relevant issues can directed to: Administrative Law Judge Beverly Hones Heydinger, Office of Administrative Hearings, 100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 1700, Minneapolis, MN, 55401-2138.
To add a name to the mailing list for future notices or obtain documents relevant to this proceeding, Sokolski can be contacted at (651) 296-2096 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .