Big Stone South to Brookings Transmission Line

A map of the project can be found here.

Stated Purpose:

The Big Stone South to Brookings Co. line is a 70 mile line that will run from a new substation to be built 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 renewable energy in the region.

Line Capacity:

345 kV

Route Description:

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.

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

Development Timeline:

The Big Stone South to Brookings line was approved by MISO in December 2011, and the developers filed 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, with construction likely to begin in 2015.

Otter Tail has acquired most of the land easements required to build the original certified route, but is still awaiting certification. Xcel Energy will be primarily responsible for construction of the line itself.

Regulatory Process:

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SD PUC) requires that projects receive a facility permit before construction can begin. Developers submit a request to the 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, and the developers must receive approval from the Department of Transportation and 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 30 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 hopes to recertify include: the Big Stone South substation, and 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. South Dakota regulators approved the application in February 2014.



Otter Tail Power Company

Xcel Energy

Community Feedback:

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.

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 a steel company in Minneapolis, employing up to 40 works at the company just for the CapX2020 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.

Fact Sheet:

Big Stone South to Brookings Fact Sheet

News Archive:

CapX2020 construction starts September 15, 2015

Power Project Promises Reliable Energy For Rural Areas September 14, 2015

CapX2020: The New Electrical Super Highway September 14, 2015

South Dakota OKs CapX2020 wire March 10, 2014

PUC approves northeastern South Dakota transmission project March 10, 2014

Permit furthers progress toward 70-mile power transmission line February 26, 2014

Application for transmission line filed with South Dakota PUC June 6, 2013

Big Stone South-Brookings County 345 kV transmission line Project Update

Docket Filing for Otter Tail to recertify project

Transmission line moving forward, December 28, 2012

Transmission line coming to Brookings Co., June 6, 2012

Your Thoughts:

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.