Powering up: New transmission line on the way
LAKEFIELD -- ITC Midwest has been preparing for the construction of a 345-kilovolt transmission line across southern Minnesota and into Iowa since 2012.
LAKEFIELD - ITC Midwest has been preparing for the construction of a 345-kilovolt transmission line across southern Minnesota and into Iowa since 2012.
Soon, residents of Jackson County will be able to see the progress.
ITC Midwest, an electricity transmission company, opened a substation in Lakefield in 2012. According to Lori Broghammer, the company’s local government and community affairs area manager, construction of the line through Jackson County is set to begin in November.
“The landowners and also the elected officials who have been involved over the years will finally be able to see this project underway,” Broghammer said.
Construction will begin at the Lakefield substation and move west into Martin and Faribault counties, then head south into Iowa from there. The transmission line route will run through Hunter, Des Moines and Wisconsin townships in Jackson County.
Tom Peterson, ITC Midwest’s director of communications, said as of Friday, 99 percent of the necessary property owners have granted easements that will allow ITC Midwest access to the needed land.
“Landowners have been incredibly gracious to meet with us and generous with granting us easements,” Peterson said. “Our approach throughout this has been to be transparent with the landowners because we can’t build a project without their support.”
Peterson said ITC Midwest realizes the damage it will cause to the property when constructing the lines. The company includes damage in the fees it pays to the landowners.
“Their support increased our resolve to be good neighbors, do the best we can, keep them in the loop and treat them fairly,” Peterson said.
The regional project is part of a portfolio of lines being constructed across the Midwest. Reasons for it include improving reliability, creating an ability to move electricity generation and reducing constraints that prevent electricity from moving around. In turn, electricity prices should improve.
The new lines will have a capacity of 345,000 volts. The average household outlet has a capacity of 120 volts.
With the project starting in November, ITC Midwest has told area businesses that 60 to 100 workers will be living and working in the county for approximately 11 months.
“Specifically in Jackson County, residents are going to see a lot of activity and a lot of investment that’s going to show up in economic activity,” Peterson said. “That’s nearly 100 employees that will be needing a place to stay, a place to eat and a place to fuel their truck.”
Broghammer said these workers will be looking for short-term housing
“We have been receiving calls from area landlords that have short-term rentals available,” Broghammer said. “That’s nice, because a lot of (these workers) are going to be staying along the route.”
Broghammer said she is looking forward to continuing her work with Jackson County and is happy to get the project underway.
“It’s been a pleasure working with the communities and the public officials,” she said. “It’s going to be nice that they are going to start seeing the progress locally out in the fields.”