Big Stone South to Brookings Transmission Line
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The Big Stone South to Brookings Co. line is a 70 mile line that will run from a new substation build near Big Stone South, S.D. to a substation near Brookings County, S.D. It is one of the MISO-approved multi-value projects in the region, and will help alleviate congestion and achieve mandates for renewables in the region.
The route is planned to extend from a new substation that will be built near Big Stone South , S.D., and will run south to an existing substation in Brookings County, also located in South Dakota. The final route has yet to be determined, and various considerations are being made before a finalized proposal is made to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SD PUC).
Developers note that the routing process encompasses three steps, including noting possibilities for line modification in the study area, identifying and evaluating alternatives, and considering resources present in the area. No existing lines run along the proposed route, or existing lines cannot be modified to meet the requirements for a double-circuit 345 kV line.
Otter Tail Power will obtain a facility permit for the initial 28 miles of the transmission line from the Big Stone South substation to an area near Gary, South Dakota. The developers plan on using mostly single steel-pole for constructing this portion of the line from Big Stone to Gary.
CapX2020 has also provided a draft of the route: Route draft map
Updates will follow as new information arrives on the route.
Development Time Line:
The Big Stone South to Brookings line was approved by MISO in December 2011, and the developers will file for a facility permit in January 2007 for Big Stone to Gary. An additional filing for a permit was made in June 2013 for the remaining portion of the line from Gary to Brookings. The developers note that the targeted in-service date for the line is 2017.
Otter Tail has acquired most of the land easements required to build the original certified route, but is still awaiting recertification. Xcel Energy will be primarily responsible for construction of the line itself.
CapX2020 is currently reaching out to landowners to obtain easements for the rest of the line.
The SD PUC requires that projects receive a facility permit before construction can begin. Developers submit a request to SD PUC, which will be reviewed by the commission within 12 months of the application date. Applications allow for the Public Utilities Commission to review and approve the construction, location, and the operations of the proposed facilities. Applications that are not approved or rejected within the 12 month period receive automatic approval.
In South Dakota, approval from state agencies preempts any local permitting, besides the SD PUC the developers must receive approval from the Department of Transportation and sometimes state historical societies. The average length of the application process for projects--from the submission of permit application to approval--lasts about six to 12 months, although the process can run longer if local permits are still required after state approval.
Approval was granted to Otter Tail Power Company for a portion of the line that will run from the new substation at Big Stone to an area near Gary, S.D. in 2007. This initial track is about half of the overall Big Stone South-Brookings line, running about 35 miles in length. Because of South Dakota law, construction projects that do not start within four years of certification must reapply for the facility permit.
Otter Tail Power filed once again for certification of the line on December 19, 2012. The facilities that Otter Tail Power would like recertified include: the Big Stone South substation, about 28 miles of double circuit 345 kV line, which will run from Big Stone South to a point near Gary, South Dakota. Almost all land easements for the original certificated portion have been obtained by Otter Tail. On June 6, 2013, Otter Tail and Xcel filed with the South Dakota PUC for the souther portion of the line, running from Gary, SD to Brookings county.
CapX2020 or an affiliated utility will apply for a facility permit for the remaining portion around June 2013, which will run from Gary, S.D. to the Brookings substation.
Otter Tail Power Company
The developers have hosted open house information meetings for the public in June 2012 and October 2012 with each of these rounds consisting of four open houses. To notify the public of these meetings and facts about the line, four different postcards were sent to about 3,000 to 4,000 landowners and residents with information concerning the line and with times and dates for the community meetings.
CapX2020 has also provided dates for their open houses on their Twitter feed, and they provide a Virtual Open House section on their website that provides various fact sheets on projects that are distributed at public open houses.
An economic impact study conducted by the University of Minnesota Duluth estimated that nearly 8,000 construction jobs would be created from the project, and that every dollar spent for the CapX2020 project would help to stimulate $1.93. The project has made about $8 million in purchases from one local steel company in Minneapolis, and involves up to 40 employees a year on the project order.
Clean Energy Potential:
The developer and industry groups note that the line and the entire CapX2020 project offers a chance to connect wind farms along the path, and allow the energy to be sent to neighboring states that are seeking to purchase the power to meet renewable standards. CapX2020 provides a path for some of the biggest wind energy producers in the nation to sell their energy to a larger market. Updating the transmission is expected to cost member utilities more than $5.5 billion by 2015.
Big Stone South to Brookings Factsheet
Transmission line coming to Brookings Co., June 6, 2012
We all know that clean energy transmission is vitally important to our energy future. It brings economic opportunity to rural areas, enables wind development and improves the reliability of your grid. But to build it properly - to create projects that work best for you and your community - requires your knowledge and participation. That's why we've created this database.
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