CapX2020 plan goes before state commissionA state commission will decide Thursday whether to accept CapX2020's route permit application.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
A state commission will decide Thursday whether to accept CapX2020's route permit application.
The proposed project would extend power poles as tall as 170 feet from a new substation near Hampton, Minn., through Goodhue County into northern Olmsted County and onto La Crosse, Wis.
Officials say expanding the region's electric transmission grid is necessary to meet increasing demand caused by population and job growth. Similar projects are slated for construction in other parts of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Minnesota Office of Energy Security staff recommend the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission accept the application, which seeks approval of a preferred route traveling through Cannon Falls and Pine Island mainly along the Highway 52 corridor.
CapX officials say the preferred route would have minimal impact on private property.
The alternative route cuts through western Goodhue County farmland and the small rural communities of Stanton and Dennison.
At one point several years ago, an alternate option ran the lines east out of Hampton all the way to Xcel's Prairie Island nuclear plant before heading south.
OES staff say "the proposed route is fairly complex in routing near the city of Cannon Falls and the Cannon River."
"There are areas where anticipated future developments and expansions may occur and present a unique interaction between private, state and federal interests," staff wrote in a document to the PUC.
One of those areas, staff note, could be Pine Island, where preferred and alternative routes for lines converge and a new substation is proposed.
OES staff suggests the PUC authorize them to establish an advisory task force to address potential issues in the Pine Island area.
"This area has originated more calls to staff than other areas along the proposed routes," staff wrote.
The group - made up of Goodhue County, Olmsted County, city of Pine Island, interested town board members and other non-government representatives - would help staff determine specific impacts and issues of local concern that should be addressed in the environmental impact statement.
The task force would also help determine potential route alternatives. Thursday's PUC meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.