Great River Energy provides updates to Minnesota regulators on segments of 115-kV project

Great River Energy on March 6 filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission status reports for February for the Straight River Switch to Blueberry Substation and the Blueberry Substation to Red Eye Substation segments of the Menahga Area 115-kV Project, as well as for the Hubbard Substation to Straight River Switch Segment of the project.

As noted in the filings, the commission in March 2016 issued an order granting Great River Energy and Minnesota Power a route permit for the project.

As TransmissionHub reported, according to the PUC’s March 2016 order, Great River Energy and Minnesota Power in January 2015 filed a joint certificate of need and route permit petition for the proposed project in Hubbard, Wadena and Becker counties. The companies proposed to build and modify certain substations, as well as build about 22.5 miles of new overhead 115-kV transmission line from the existing Hubbard substation westward to a new Straight River substation, and then southward to a new Blueberry substation near the city of Menahga and on to a new Red Eye substation.

Minnesota Power on Sept. 30 told the PUC that all construction activities for the company’s portion of the Menahga High Voltage Transmission Line (HVTL) Project are complete.

Of the Straight River Switch to Blueberry Substation segment, Great River Energy said in its March 6 filing that tree clearing is complete in that segment, and that cleanup in wetland areas is complete. The line is complete except for spans into the high side structures, the company said.

The Blueberry substation site was graded last October, and the foundation contractor finished as much work as it could at the site at the end of last November, the company said. Work on the substation will resume this year.

The company also said that because of the long timeframe for issuance of the Corps of Engineers permit for those segments, it was unable to complete the work at the Blueberry substation to allow it to connect the transmission line into the substation as planned.

Great River Energy said that to meet its commitment to the Minnesota Pipe Line Company (MPL) to energize the Red Eye substation – and therefore the Sebeka pump station – in April, Great River Energy will build a temporary bypass through the Blueberry substation site this winter (six structures). The transmission line will then continue along the permitted alignment to the Red Eye substation, which will be fed temporarily from the Hubbard substation source until Great River Energy can complete the Blueberry substation and connect the transmission line as designed and permitted.

The company said that all six temporary structures are within the permitted route and are on Great River Energy property.

“We anticipate that the Blueberry substation will be completed and the temporary structures removed by October 2017 (the substation may be completed sooner than that, but due to MPL outage constraints, the transmission line cannot be cut in until October,” the company said. “The six temporary structures are set and strung.”

Of the Blueberry Substation to Red Eye Substation segment, Great River Energy said that tree clearing is complete in that segment, and that the line is complete except for spans into high side structures.

Restoration work will be done on those segments as it dries up in the area, the company said.

In its separate filing for the Hubbard Substation to Straight River Switch Segment, Great River Energy noted that project construction – tree clearing – began on March 21, 2016, and is complete. The company further noted that transmission line construction – framing – began on April 25, 2016, and that the transmission line work is complete – all 108 poles, including steel poles.

The Hubbard to Straight River 115-kV transmission line was energized on Sept. 27, 2016, through a temporary connection at the Hubbard substation, with load placed on the Straight River substation on Sept. 29, 2016.

The company also said that at the Hubbard substation, one of the 115/34.5-kV transformers and the 34.5-kV bay have been removed. A new 115-kV high side structure and associated equipment have been erected, the temporary connection has been removed, and the transmission line has been terminated on the new structure, Great River Energy said.

Retirement of the Minnesota Power 34.5-kV line is complete, the company said, adding that restoration work will be done on the segment as it dries up in the area.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 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.