The CapX2020 partners announced March 9 they are evolving, moving into the future under a new name: Grid North Partners.
Great River Energy was a co-founder of the transmission partnership CapX2020, a group of 10 utilities formed in 2004 to upgrade and expand the transmission system in the Upper Midwest. The CapX2020 partners successfully built more than 800 miles of high-voltage transmission to ensure continued reliable, affordable energy and open new pathways for renewable energy. The last project in the CapX2020 portfolio was energized in 2017.
“We saw a vision and we accomplished it,” said Vice President and Chief Transmission Officer Priti Patel. “The ‘Grid North Partners’ name is a new reflection of the journey we are on, where so many challenges are regional.”
Patel said she is looking forward to addressing transmission challenges with Grid North Partners and that the impact the February polar vortex had in the southern United States demonstrates the value of collaborative transmission planning.
“We know our system and the landscape of the Upper Midwest best, and together we can prepare for a future that continues to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity,” Patel said.
Grid North Partners will be active in 2021, holding a symposium, working with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator to identify regional transmission expansion needed to integrate the changing generation fleet, and continuing to educate policymakers and other stakeholders on the purpose and need for transmission.
“As the needs of utilities and our members evolve, so must the transmission grid,” Patel said.
“The CapX2020 projects are serving our grid well, having affordably maintained reliability while connecting approximately 4,000 megawatts of new wind energy,” said Matt Ellis, Grid North Partners co-executive director and Great River Energy regional transmission development and policy program manager. “As we look toward 2050, we need to be proactive in identifying long-term transmission solutions to meet the changing needs of our partners, members and the grid.”
Grid North Partners include Central Municipal Power Agency/Services, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Great River Energy, Minnesota Power, Missouri River Energy Services, Otter Tail Power Company, Rochester Public Utilities, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, WPPI Energy and Xcel Energy.