ITC to meet with landowners in Minnesota about proposed project

ITC Midwest officials have invited 3,700 landowners in Minnesota to a series of six public meetings to introduce a proposed transmission project that would run through southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

The Lakefield Junction to Webster project, which ITC is co-developing with MidAmerican Energy Company, will move wind-generated electricity from western and northern Iowa and southern Minnesota to major 345-kV transmission hubs.

“We’re still at the very earliest stages” of discussion, ITC Midwest director of communications Tom Petersen told TransmissionHub Sept. 12.  “We’re truly at the grassroots level of our conversations with landowners.”

Peterson, who will meet with landowners at all six meetings, said ITC prefers to meet with affected stakeholders and obtain their input before making the necessary regulatory filings.

“We have suggested routes based on what we know of the lay of the land,” he said, noting that citizen feedback about preferred options will assist planners in fine-tuning route options that will ultimately be included in regulatory filings.

According to TransmissionHub data, the project will create a double circuit 345/161-kV path through the border of Minnesota and Iowa and will include a new 345-kV transmission line from Lakefield Junction near Trimont, Minn., to Winnebago, Minn to Burt, Iowa; and from Sheldon, to Burt to Webster, all in Iowa.

The project will also include rebuilding 161-kV lines on the same towers, extending along portions of the same route.

The project will add 218 miles of new 345-kV and 92 miles of rebuilt 161-kV transmission. ITC Midwest’s 105-mile portion of the project includes about 75 miles of line in Minnesota, and the balance in Iowa.

The line, which is officially known as the Lakefield Junction to Winnebago to Winnco to Burt area; Sheldon to Burt area to Webster project, is included in the Midwest ISO’s (MISO) 2011 multi-value project (MVP) portfolio. In addition to moving mandated renewable energy, the project would also effectively mitigate the Fox Lake – Rutland – Winnebago 161-kV constraint, according to MISO documents.

Petersen said it is too early in the process to estimate a cost. Regulatory filings are anticipated in early 2013; the companies are planning to have the project in service in 2017.