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Construction is under way on CapX2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse transmission line


From the February 28, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 28, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
The utilities in the CapX2020 initiative have started construction on the estimated $500 million, 150-mile Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse 345-kilovolt project from Minnesota to Wisconsin. The first segment under construction is the 16-mile, 161-kV line between a new North Rochester Substation near Pine Island, Minn., 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, the utilities said.

The Minnesota portion of the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project is 345-kV double-circuit capable, which allows for future capacity expansion on the existing structures, the utilities said. To reduce land impacts, single-pole steel structures will be used predominantly. The poles are spaced about five per mile.

Rochester Public Utilities and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency said their participation in the CapX2020 project will ensure greater reliability and system redundancy. The added transmission infrastructure will provide a robust system for greater energy imports and exports, the utilities said.

"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 CapX2020 Co-executive Director Priti Patel. "The line will provide immediate benefits by enhancing electricity service reliability and allow for future growth and economic development in the area."

Work on the North Rochester-Northern Hills 161-kV segment will be completed this summer, the utilities said. 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.

Along with RPU and SMPPA, partners in the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project include Dairyland Power Cooperative, WPPI Energy and Xcel Energy. Other utilities in CapX2020 are Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Great River Energy, Minnesota Power, Minnkota Power Cooperative, Missouri River Energy Services and Otter Tail Power Co. The CapX2020 projects include four 345-kV lines and a 230-kV line and represent the largest development of new transmission in the Upper Midwest in 30 years, the utilities said. They are projected to cost more than $2 billion and cover a distance of nearly 800 miles.

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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella
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