Great River Energy on March 13 told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that construction on the Cedar Lake Project – which involves the CapX2020 Brookings County-Hampton 345-kV Transmission Project – is anticipated to begin in August.
The company, in a February 2015 filing, requested that the commission approve a minor alteration in the route permit for the Brookings County-Hampton project. Specifically, the company requested that the commission approve the temporary use of the open position on the double circuit capable structures on a portion of the Helena to Chub Lake Segment – between Structures #044 and #068 – of the Brookings County-Hampton project for a new, approximately 4.2-mile, 115-kV transmission line needed to serve the proposed Cedar Lake substation, which would in turn serve the new St. Patrick pump station proposed by Minnesota Pipe Line Company as part of the Minnesota Pipe Line Reliability Project.
The new 115-kV line and the Cedar Lake substation are referred to as the Cedar Lake Project, the company added.
In its March 13 filing, Great River Energy noted that the commission in May 2015 granted the company its requested minor alteration.
Great River Energy said that it consulted with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) concerning mitigation measures for the Cedar Lake Project. A Natural Heritage Information System (NHIS) data request form was submitted to the DNR in August 2016, and a response letter that was received last November indicated that while the NHIS identified rare features within an approximate one-mile radius of the proposed project, the records did not include any federally listed species, and were either historical or not of concern, given the project details.
The DNR concluded that the proposed project would not adversely affect any known occurrence of rare features, and did not recommend any mitigation measures, the company added.
Since this is a separate project from the CapX project, and the voltage of the line is different, an application for a license to cross public waters was submitted to the DNR last November, the company said. The application was for two crossings of an unnamed tributary of Porter Creek, between Structures 56-57 and 60-61 of the CapX line. The company also said that the DNR on Dec. 8, 2016, issued the water crossing license, which was effective starting on Dec. 15, 2016.
South County approved a conditional use permit for the Cedar Lake substation and 115-kV tap line on the west end of the project last August.
Among other things, the company added that a preconstruction meeting will be held for any employees and contractors before construction activities begin.
According to the CapX2020 website, the 250-mile Brookings County-Hampton line was energized on March 26, 2015. The project will help meet projected electric growth in southern and western Minnesota, and the growing areas south of the Twin Cities metro area, particularly Scott and Dakota counties, according to the website. The project also connects to new renewable generation resources in southern and western Minnesota, as well as the Dakotas, the website noted.
The commission granted a certificate of need for the project in 2009, as well as a route permit for most of the project in fall 2010; a final portion was approved in early 2011, the website said. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission issued a facility permit for the project in 2011, according to the website.