Thursday afternoon and again in the evening, Xcel held an Open House for its proposed “Hiawatha Project,” transmission through Phillips.

What I learned:

From Pam Rasmussen:  Conductor specs — 795 ACSS DOUBLE CIRCUIT and NOT bundled.  But there’s not much impact on the capacity, it’s essentially the same.  Here’s the conductor spec chart, where you can look up 795kCmil on the left and then go over to the right to 115kV — remember this is for 1 circuit, so for 2, double it — this is from the SW MN 345kV case:

Ex-35-App 7-Conductor Spec

From Dave Callahan: The area on Hiawatha where they’re looking at sticking a substation is North of Lake, on the East side of Hiawatha, where the northwest end of that Target complex abuts another group of buildings on Minnehaha backing up to Hiawatha.  There’s no road access, and there’s been talk of extending the Midtown Greenway from a bit north through this area towards Lake Street.  It sounded like Xcel had already had discussions of how to put a substation there and leave room for the Greenway expansion.  As there’s no road, the easiest way I see to get there is to start at Cedar and head east on Hiawatha, tromp on it to get some lift and do an Evil Kinevil over Hiawatha and land there… otherwise, try walking from Minnehaha.  It’s just to the right of the “A” below:

View Larger Map

Recently, Xcel had announced that its preferred route is along the Midtown Greenway. In looking at routes, and digging through my files, I’d discovered the Metro Load Serving Study from 2001.   That  study says, about plans for South Minneapolis:  Oh my, LOTS about South Minneapolis, I’m going to have to do a whole separate post on that.  Manana…

At the July 24, 2008, NM-SPG meeting, there was this presentation, per the minutes:

7.1.4. South Minneapolis
Mr. Standing, XCEL, presented the South Minneapolis Electric Reliability Project (SMERP) study. Mr. Standing stated 4 options were studied. The preferred option includes a new 345 kV line in-service in approximately 2013-2020 from the New Hwy 280 345/115 kV substation to the New Hiawatha substation.

NM-SPG Meeting Minutes July 24, 2008

And from the 2007 Biennial Transmission Plan, we have this snippet that gives us a peek at their plans:

Alternatives. Initial investigation and scoping discussions have led to the development of three potential alternatives:
(1) Construct a new 115 kV line from a new Hiawatha Substation along Highway 55 to a new Oakland Substation near Lake Street and I-35W. The line would then continue south to a new Highway 62 Substation near Highway 62 and Nicollet Avenue. The line would continue to its final termination at a new Penn Lake Substation near I-494 and Sheridan Avenue.
(2) Similar to Option 1, but the final 115 kV line would stretch from Highway 62 Substation to the existing Wilson Substation near I-494 and Wentworth Avenue.
(3) Construct two smaller 115 kV loops with new 115 kV lines running from Hiawatha to Oakland to Elliot Park and a second loop from Penn Lake to Highway 62 to Wilson.

That section of the 2007 Biennial Transmission Plan is just too big.  CLICK HERE and click on section 7.5 and scroll down to the 3rd and 4th to the last pages.

In that section of the 2007 Transmission Plan, it describes a “need” in South Minneapolis:

Inadequacy. Loading on Xcel Energy’s 12.4 kV distribution system in south Minneapolis has reached levels where numerous single contingencies can lead to overloads elsewhere in the system. Many of the distribution substations served by the south Minneapolis transmission loop have either reached their capacities or will in the near future, as Xcel Energy is forecasting 100 MW of load growth in south Minneapolis over the next ten years due to redevelopment in many areas of the city.

Are you paying attention?  The “inadequacy” is in the 12.4kV distribution system.  Or the “inadequacy” IS the 12.4kV distribution system.  Also note that they are forecasting a load growth of 100MW over the next 10 years.  Don’t forget these points.

When you take the plans that are out there for the taking, and sketch them out, here’s what it looks like (this is old news, but once more with feeling):


Xcel, when you’ve got an inadequacy with your 12.4kV distribution system, and power quality issues at some of the big electric users, why would you think that this big linked addition of transmission is the answer.  How about trying a distribution upgrade — isn’t it long overdue?  And underground that distribution while you’re at it!

Leave a Reply