Transmission project kicks off during virtual open house - Great River Energy

Transmission project kicks off during virtual open house

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major changes to the way Great River Energy conducts its business. What has not changed is the importance of engaging member-owners in the cooperative’s projects. Great River Energy has found new ways to gather stakeholder input while keeping the public safe and healthy.

Great River Energy recently held a virtual open house for its Winthrop transmission project. Public open houses for transmission projects allow the public and interested parties to provide input for the proposed route, state any concerns and ask questions.

“It’s important to us that our communities feel informed about the projects in their areas,” said Vice President and Chief Transmission Officer Priti Patel. “We proactively reach out to property owners, local leaders and the community as a whole on these important and needed projects.”

Great River Energy is working with member-owner McLeod Cooperative Power Association (McLeod) on the Winthrop project which consists of rebuilding an existing 9.25-mile, 69-kilovolt transmission line in McLeod and Sibley counties. The rebuild is necessary to improve the reliability of the transmission system in the area, and reduce risks associated with low voltage and transmission line overloading. The line was originally constructed in 1946 and has reached its end of life.

“We wanted landowners to be informed about the project and have an opportunity to ask questions and share their feedback,” said Michelle Lommel, senior field representative at Great River Energy. “We typically host these open houses in community centers or township halls as an open forum. With the pandemic, we made the decision to go virtual.”

Panelists from Great River Energy’s permitting, engineering and project management departments, along with a McLeod employee, participated in a question and answer session after the formal presentation.

The Winthrop project is anticipated to be in service in the spring of 2024.

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