Great Plains Institute, in collaboration with the Midwestern Governors Association, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), and regional NGO’s, has worked on moving the region forward on critical transmission plans and projects which will significantly increase the capability of the region to produce much needed wind energy.
We are finally seeing significant progress in the Upper Midwest in construction of several key transmission projects which will help deliver more clean energy and also greatly improve reliability of the grid, which has not had a major upgrade for 30 years.
CAPX2020, a joint initiative of 11 transmission owning electric utilities, which included Investor Owned, Generation and Transmission Cooperatives and Municipal Agencies, provides a great example of the progress underway.
The CAPX2020 transmission project has been at work for over 8 years with planning, licensing and construction of 5 transmission projects with over 800 miles of new transmission infrastructure and an estimated investment of $2.2 billion. This required incredible coordination and state need and routing permits in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Bemidji-Grand Rapids project was energized in autumn 2012 and the Fargo-Monticello project energized the first segment between St. Cloud and Monticello last year. Work is continuing on the Fargo-St. Cloud section and work also began this last fall on the Brookings County-Hampton project. Work is expected to begin this year on the Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse project.
One of the unique features of this collaboration has been the extent of work done by local contractors throughout the route. As an example, the Brookings County-Hampton project estimates it will pour over 62,000 cubic yards of locally purchased concrete in 2013, providing $5.6 million in revenue for suppliers.
This project, and transmission upgrades in other parts of the US, will provide critical infrastructure for transporting renewable energy across the Midwest and beyond.
More information on the economic, environmental, and jobs impacts of these important transmission projects are available at www.capx2020.com.