Companies file application for second segment of Big Stone South to Brookings project

CapX2020 partners Northern States Power Company d/b/a Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) and Otter Tail Power (NYSE:OTP) on June 3 filed a facility permit application with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for permission to construct the southern portion of the Big Stone South to Brookings transmission project (Docket No. EL13-020).

The application requested approval to construct a 43-mile segment of single-circuit 345-kV transmission line in Deuel and Brookings counties in South Dakota, and to make modifications to the existing Brookings County substation, including modification of bus work, addition of support structures, circuit breakers, switches, monitoring instrumentation, and installation of a shunt reactor on the existing 345-115-13.8-kV transformer to provide voltage dampening during light loading.

Total project cost for the southern segment is estimated at $109m, while the entire project is estimated to cost $226.7m, according to TransmissionHub data.

The new transmission segment, which would run from just north of Gary, S.D., to the Brookings substation, is in addition to the 33-mile northern portion of the transmission line that was approved in January 2007 (Docket No. EL06-002).

Calls seeking additional information from the project’s developers were not returned by press time June 7.

When completed, the project will run 76 miles between a new substation about three miles west of Big Stone City, S.D., and Xcel Energy’s existing Brookings County substation 12 miles east of Brookings.

The total project has a targeted in-service date of 2017.

The development and selection of the proposed route was based on a multi-faceted approach in which the companies considered state and federal requirements, public comments received at pre-filing public meetings and extensive analysis of appropriate environmental data, the companies said in their application.

Company officials met with local and state officials, electric co-ops and media outlets in May as well as earlier this month to introduce the project.

The PUC will host a public meeting on July 31.

The project is one of a portfolio of 17 “multi-value” projects approved by the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) in December 2011 as part of the 2011 MISO transmission expansion plan. The MVP portfolio is planned to provide multiple benefits to the overall transmission system, such as reducing system losses, planning reserves, operating reserves, wind generation investment and transmission investment, the companies said in their application.

The project, which is estimated to facilitate up to 800 MW of new generation, is located in one of the best wind generation resource areas in the country, and will increase the ability to integrate new generation, according to the project partners.