Minnesota PUC approves Xcel’s request to withdraw permit for St. Cloud Loop Project

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Jan. 6 approved Xcel Energy’s (NYSE:XEL) December 2016 request for the PUC to withdraw a permit for the company’s St. Cloud Loop Project in the City of Sauk Rapids, Minn.

According to the PUC’s Jan. 6 order, Xcel in March 2011 filed an application for a route permit for the project, and the PUC subsequently granted the route permit to the company.

Xcel on Dec. 6, 2016, notified the PUC that the project would not be built, the PUC said, adding that no comments or objections regarding the withdrawal request were filed.

In its Dec. 6, 2016, filing, Xcel said: “Following the tragic fire in May of 2012 at the Verso paper mill in Sartell, and the mill’s decision not to re-open, Xcel Energy reexamined the need to construct the St. Cloud loop project. The project was originally required to reduce overloads and potential outages to customers during unforeseen outages on the transmission system in the St. Cloud area. A study of the electrical system, excluding the mill’s load, determined that minimal alterations could be made to Xcel Energy’s system operations to serve the area’s electrical needs, in lieu of constructing the project permitted by the” PUC.
Therefore, the company said that it will not build the project and withdraws the project filing.

A company spokesperson on Jan. 10 told TransmissionHub, “No construction was ever started on this project.”

According to the PUC’s website, the company in March 2012 submitted its “first status report” on the project, saying that since issuance of the route permit, the company had been working on the final design and structure placements for the planned 115-kV transmission line from the Mayhew substation to the Granite City substation. The finalized route, plan and profile drawings and related foundation and structure specifications were being prepared at that time, the company said.

The company, in an April 2012 filing, provided to the PUC the results of a contamination survey that it conducted regarding the project.

According to the website, that 2012 filing was the last filing that the company submitted to the PUC about the project prior to a Dec. 2, 2016, letter discussing the project’s cancellation.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3229 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.