February 22, 2013
The CapX2020 utilities have started construction on the estimated $500 million, 150-mile Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse 345 kilovolt project. The first segment under construction is the 16-mile 161 kV line between a new North Rochester Substation near Pine Island and the existing Northern Hills Substation in northwest Rochester. The CapX2020 transmission lines will provide reliable and affordable electricity service to customers in Minnesota and the surrounding region, while also expanding access to renewable energy.
“It has been six years since we started the public outreach, regulatory and routing process, and we will continue to work closely with landowners and local officials as construction moves forward,” said Priti Patel, CapX2020 co-executive director. “The line will provide immediate benefits by enhancing electricity service reliability and allow for future growth and economic development in the area.”
The Minnesota portion of the Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse project is 345 kV double-circuit capable, which allows for future capacity expansion on the existing structures. To reduce land impacts, single-pole steel structures predominantly will be used. The poles are spaced about five per mile.
“Participation by Rochester Public Utilities and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency in the CapX2020 project will ensure greater reliability and system redundancy necessary as Rochester and southeast Minnesota continue to grow,” said Tony Benson, RPU communications coordinator, and Dan Hayes, SMMPA manager of renewable energy programs and agency communications. “In addition, the added transmission infrastructure will provide a robust system for us to import and export energy as needed today and well into the future.”
Work on the North Rochester-Northern Hills 161 kV segment will be completed this summer. Foundation work on the 45-mile, 345 kV segment between the North Rochester Substation and the Mississippi River is scheduled to start in August. Construction in Wisconsin will start in 2014 with an in-service date of 2015 for the entire project.