To address reliability concerns and increase the load serving capability of the existing transmission system between Audubon and Rush Lake in west central Minnesota, Great River Energy and Otter Tail Power Company, in collaboration with other neighboring utilities propose to construct a new substation and a new 115-kV transmission line in Becker and Otter Tail counties. This project will reduce risks associated with low-voltage and transmission line overloading and ensure continued reliable service to customers in the future. A route permit must be issued by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission before the project can be constructed.
The proposed project will include constructing a 230/115-kV substation called Erie northwest of the intersection of the existing Audubon to Hubbard 230-kV and its intersection with 360th Avenue in Height of Land Township. A new 115-kV transmission line will also be constructed to connect the new Erie Substation to Great River Energy’s existing Frazee Substation.
Specifically, the project will entail:
• Otter Tail Power constructing and owning the new 230/115-kV Erie Substation and connecting it to the existing Xcel Energy 230-kV line.
• Great River Energy constructing and owning approximately 9.4 miles of new 115-kV transmission line, potentially with some distribution underbuild, between the Erie and Frazee substations. Approximately 1.7 miles will be double circuited with Great River Energy’s existing 41.6-kV line.
Permitting / environmental approvals
Great River Energy and Otter Tail Power will submit a route permit application for the proposed project to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). During the route permit process, the public and regulatory agencies will have numerous opportunities to provide input on the proposed project, including public meetings facilitated by the PUC and Department of Commerce Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (DOC EERA) staff. The DOC EERA will prepare an environmental assessment for the project. Construction cannot begin until an approved route permit is granted by the PUC.