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United States

US to Canada wind storage transmission line plans submitted

UNITED STATES: Minnesota Power has submitted plans to regulators to build a 750MW transmission line that will facilitate the storage of energy from wind projects in the US in Canadian hydro projects.

The proposed routes for the transmission line
The proposed routes for the transmission line

The 500kV Great Northern Transmission Line would cross the Minnesota-Manitoba border carrying power from wind into Canada for storage through pumped hydro.

Power will then be transported along the 350-kilometre route back into the US at times of high demand to an electric substation on the Mesabi Iron Range in the north of the country.

Minnesota Power has submitted its plans to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for approval and also applied for a presidential permit from the US Department of Energy.

The company said the line will allow it to "substantially expand its energy storage opportunities". Its planned expansion of the Bison Wind project in North Dakota to 500MW from its current 300MW is central to the plans.

Minnesota Power estimates total project cost in the US, including substation work, to be between $500 million and $650 million, depending on the final approved route.

The firm said  it has held meetings with concerned local parties. The applications explain that the line will generally require a 60-metre right of way, with four or five structures per mile about 30 to 45 metres in height.

Two alternate routes are listed in the applications. Both proposed alternatives are approximately 350 kilometres and, where feasible, follow existing transmission lines.

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