Northland Reliability Project open houses continue

Upcoming area open houses will take place in Ironton, Daggett Brook Township and Pierz.

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Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

Minnesota Power and Great River Energy invite the public to attend a second phase of open houses for their Northland Reliability Project where they can ask questions and provide input on the transmission line’s preliminary route.

Minnesota Power and Great River Energy plan to build an approximately 180-mile, double-circuit 345-kV transmission line from northern Minnesota to central Minnesota near Becker that will support grid reliability in the Upper Midwest.

Based on input gathered during the first phase of public open houses in January and February, coordination with tribes and agencies, and reviewing technical data and requirements, Minnesota Power and Great River Energy narrowed the route corridor to identify a preliminary route. A final route has not been determined and the second phase of open houses will help identify the proposed route to be submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

There will not be a formal presentation at the open houses but project representatives will be on hand to answer questions and attendees are welcome to come and go as their schedules allow. Project displays and detailed maps will be available at each open house. Upcoming open houses:

  • 10 a.m. noon May 2 at Spang Town Hall, 35402 Spang Road, Hill City.
  • 4-6 p.m. May 2 at Taconite Canteen, 240 Curtis Ave., Ironton.
  • 10 a.m.-noon May 3 at Daggett Brook Town Hall, 14074 County Road 2, Brainerd.
  • 4-6 p.m. May 3 at Pierz Ballroom, 133 Main St. S., Pierz.
  • 10 a.m.-noon May 4 at Sauk Rapids Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N., Sauk Rapids.
  • 4-6 p.m. May 4 at Palmer Township Hall, 4180 105th Ave., Clear Lake.

For people unable to attend an in-person open house, a virtual, self-guided open house will be available from May 1-12 at . Individuals can also request a mailed informational packet by emailing or leaving a message on the project hotline at 218-864-6059.


The Northland Reliability transmission line will run from Minnesota Power’s Iron Range Substation in Itasca County to Great River Energy’s Benton County Substation in Benton County, and then replace two existing Great River Energy transmission lines — one line will connect from the Benton County Substation to a new substation named Big Oaks Substation in Sherburne County and the second will connect to the Sherco Substation. The Big Oaks Substation will be built as part of a separate project.

Minnesota Power and Great River Energy intend to seek a Certificate of Need and Route Permit from the MPUC in late summer 2023. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will determine need and the final route and separately review cost recovery of the project for Minnesota Power’s portion of the project. Subject to regulatory approvals, the transmission line is estimated to be in service by 2030.

This joint project is one of a portfolio of transmission projects approved July 25, 2022, by the region’s grid operator, MISO, as part of the first phase of its Long Range Transmission Plan. In total, MISO approved 18 projects across its Midwest sub region, with six, including the Minnesota Power/Great River Energy project, in the Upper Midwest.

The Northland Reliability Project will increase the reliability of the grid, enhance its resiliency during extreme weather events, and make it more flexible so any type of power generation from more locations can be connected to meet the long-term energy needs of Minnesota Power customers and Great River Energy members.

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