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CapX2020 utilities have filed a route permit application for the Monticello-St. Cloud 345 kV transmission line, one of several lines the group is proposing in the Upper Midwest to preserve system reliability, serve increasing community electricity needs and increase capacity to accommodate renewable energy.

The application was filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. It is the second route permit application filed for the three proposed CapX2020 345 kV transmission line projects.

A separate route permit application will be filed later this year for the Fargo-St. Cloud 345 kV transmission line project. A route permit application was previously filed for the line between Brookings County, S.D., and Hampton, Minn., and work continues on an application for a route between Hampton and Rochester, Minn., and La Crosse, Wis.

The Monticello-St. Cloud route permit application contains three route options for the commission to review. The application process also requires significant route option review by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security. The process provides numerous opportunities for public comment and input before the commission decides on a final route.

The public process on the route permit application formally begins when the Office of Energy Security hosts public scoping meetings to develop a draft environmental impact statement. Local governments, organizations, landowners and other stakeholders will be able to comment on the project's environmental and routing aspects during the scoping meetings, while the impact statement is being drafted and again after it is published.

The commission also will schedule public hearings where stakeholders can formally comment on the proposed route options. These comments will be included in the official record. A final commission decision on the route is expected in 2010.

Approval of the route permit application also depends on approval of the Certificate of Need application, which currently is under review. The commission is scheduled to hear oral arguments and deliberate on April 15 and April 16 on whether the three 345 kV lines are needed.

SOURCE: Xcel Energy



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