Great River Energy on April 6 filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission status reports for the Hubbard Substation to Straight River Switch, Straight River Switch to Blueberry Substation, and Blueberry Substation to Red Eye Substation segments of the Menahga Area 115-kV 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 Menahga Area 115-kV Project.
In its filing regarding the Hubbard Substation to Straight River Switch Segment, Great River Energy said that project construction – tree clearing – began on March 21, and is complete. Transmission line construction – framing – began on April 25, 2016, and the transmission line work is complete – all 108 poles, including steel poles.
Great River Energy also noted that 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.
At the Hubbard substation, one of the 115/34.5-kV transformers and the 34.5-kV bay have been removed, the company said. Great River Energy added that 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 that retirement of the Minnesota Power 34.5-kV line is complete.
In its filing regarding the Straight River Switch to Blueberry Substation and the Blueberry Substation to Red Eye Substation segments, Great River Energy said that tree clearing is complete in the Straight River Switch to Blueberry Substation Segment, and cleanup in wetland areas is done. The line is complete, including spans into the high side structures.
The Blueberry substation site was graded last October, and the foundation contractor finished as much as it could at the site at the end of November 2016; work on the substation will resume this year.
The company also said that due to the long timeframe for issuance of the Corps of Engineers permit for the segments, Great River Energy was unable to complete the work at the Blueberry substation to allow it to connect the transmission line into the substation as planned.
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 said that it 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.
All six temporary structures are within the permitted route and are on Great River Energy property, the company said, adding: “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 six temporary structures are set and strung.”
Of the Blueberry Substation to Red Eye Substation Segment, the company said that tree clearing is now complete in that segment, and that the line is complete, including spans into high side structures.
In both filings, Great River Energy said that restoration work will be done on the segments as it dries up in the area.