Construction is underway on the 70-mile, 345-kV Big Stone South-Brookings County project, which is being built in South Dakota between the new Big Stone South substation near Big Stone City and the Brookings County substation near Brookings, according to the November edition of the CapX2020 “CapX Quarterly” newsletter.
Foundation construction on the project was completed in October, the newsletter said, noting that structure setting began in June and is 85% complete. Matting is being used to minimize land impact, conductor stringing is underway, and a helicopter is being used at times to assist in stringing, according to the newsletter.
Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) and Otter Tail Power are joint owners of the project – which is expected to be energized in fall 2017 – and Xcel is the development manager, the newsletter said.
Noting that the CapX2020 transmission lines are opening up a new pathway for more renewable energy to flow on the electric grid, the newsletter said that Xcel on Oct. 25 announced a proposed plan to own four new wind farms in Minnesota and North Dakota. If approved, two of the wind farms, totaling 400 MW, would connect onto the CapX2020 345-kV Brookings County-Hampton transmission line in Lincoln County, Minn., according to the newsletter.
Among other things, the newsletter noted that the fourth CapX2020 project, the 345/161-kV Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project, was fully energized in September, bringing another 156 miles of transmission line onto the grid.
CapX2020 has invested $1.85bn in completing four high voltage transmission line projects, which total 725 miles across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, the newsletter said.