MOES page for Hiawatha Project

Now take a look at this map for the FULL plan, well, at least a larger picture, than what they’re disclosing for the Hiawatha Project.  Here’s the map, and note carefully, from B-C is what they’re calling the Hiawatha Project.  tHIS SECTION IS FOR XCEL’s PAM RASMUSSEN, WHO HATES IT WHEN I PUBLISH THIS MAP, SO I’VE GOT TO BE VERY SPECIFIC WHERE THIS INFORMATION IS COMING FROM AND WHAT CONSTITUTES THE “HIAWATHA PROJECT” and as far as Xcel is disclosing, the applied for Hiawatha Project is “B-C” of this map.  Look below to see where the rest comes from!


Here’s the NM-SPG meeting minutes reporting on the A-B link, the 345kV line from a new substation on Hwy 280 (A) to the new Hiawatha Project substation (B).

Minutes – NM-SPG meeting July 24, 2008

Then there’s “Hiawatha Project” from B-C.

For C, D and E, see the “Minnesota Transmission Owners” 2007 Biennial Transmission Plan, where they list these extension alternatives:

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.

Section 7 of Biennial Transmission Plan, go to Section 7.5 and all the way down to 3rd and 4th to last pages:


Another point to note:  the Hiawatha Project is WAY over spec’d.  This is a double circuited ACSS 795kCmil conductor — see what that means and compare it with the claimed 100MW need in the FUTURE!

Ex. 35 – conductors – from SW MN 345kV docket

And now, for today’s STrib article:

Will burying power lines in Midtown bury city, users with $12.6 million bill?

Xcel Energy prefers to route transmission lines along the Midtown Greenway; public officials question the fivefold cost increase of putting them underground.

By STEVE BRANDT, Star Tribune

Last update: April 27, 2009 – 11:27 PM

If Xcel wanted buried power lines along this corridor, they should have expressed that when the greenway project was in the planning … read more stages. They could have accomplished this with a substantially reduced cost. Poor foresight on their part is not the responsibility of the city.

Xcel Energy has told state regulators that it wants its controversial twin high-voltage power lines through the Midtown area of Lake Street in Minneapolis to run along the rim of the Midtown Greenway.

But the utility told the Public Utility Commission that the line could be run either overhead for $3 million or underground for $15.6 million. If it’s the latter, either the city or electrical users in Minneapolis should pay the extra $12.6 million cost, Xcel said.

Some city and Hennepin County elected officials said the proposal represents an opportunity for state regulators to consider a paradigm shift in assessing those costs and whether the utility should bear the expense of installing a new underground line in an urban area. That’s because the lines would penetrate a dense urban area, unlike more typical routing through rural or developing suburban areas, said Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff.

‘Despoiling a public resource’

Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin argued that constructing power lines along the greenway would jeopardize the public investment of $30 million to develop the greenway as a biking, pedestrian and potentially transit corridor that is intended to spur redevelopment. Moreover, the corridor has historic status as an early example of an urban railroad corridor, which means installing overhead power lines as tall as 115 feet would be a nonstarter in his book, McLaughlin said.

Xcel’s other listed options are splitting the lines between E. 28th Street and either E. 26th or E. 31st Street or burying them under 28th Street. The split-lines option would be required for overhead routing if the greenway rim isn’t used because there’s not enough room on any of the streets to handle both lines, Xcel said. Splitting the lines would cost between $5 and $5.75 million, compared with $3 million if both lines are strung along the greenway.

“They’re despoiling a public resource, or they’re running it down two residential streets, something they can’t show they’ve done before,” McLaughlin said. That means that none of the above-ground routes is practical, he said, and he argued that there’s no basis for Xcel’s contention that the extra cost of the underground lines should be borne by the city or its power customers.

Other ways to pay?

The company said it has been discussing with city and Hennepin County officials ways to pay for the underground line. One idea it has floated would be a city and county personal property tax abatement on Xcel’s added facilities, which might offset the cost. The company also needs to buy easements to build and maintain the power lines, and with Hennepin County owning the greenway corridor, the easement price could be negotiated to help offset the underground cost, McLaughlin said.

With other metro transmission line proposals on Xcel’s horizon, the commission’s deliberations on whether it should bury the lines and on who should pay for them could have ramifications beyond the city’s borders, Schiff said. “Is Xcel going to distribute energy using 19th century technology with these above-ground power lines that nobody wants outside their homes?” he asked.

Feeling the squeeze

Xcel says that the new lines, plus new substations at either end, are needed to improve electrical reliability to the Midtown area. The Minneapolis City Council has asked the utility to meet added demand in the area through conservation measures, but said a line buried under 28th Street would be its preferred route if a new line is constructed.

The new substations would be built in the Seward neighborhood at 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue, near the east end of the Sabo Greenway bridge over Hiawatha, and in the Phillips West neighborhood at 29th Street and Oakland Avenue S. Xcel said that including substations, the project will cost between $28.4 million and $41.8 million, depending on the route chosen.

The company said that population growth and more demand from economic development have boosted demand from the Midtown area to the point where electrical service is being interrupted more often and feeder circuits are overloaded. But the Midtown Greenway Coalition opposes both overhead lines and the limits that buried lines would place on future transit-oriented development along the corridor, said Tim Springer, staff director for the advocacy group.

Opponents have argued that Xcel should exhaust energy conservation strategies and employ fledgling “smart grid” technology to meet the demand. Some fear that the proposed Hiawatha transmission project is the first wedge in future Xcel plans to string more transmission lines through the heart of south Minneapolis.

Xcel told the Public Utilities Commission that it wants to begin construction next year and start using the new facilities in 2011. The commission will schedule public information meetings on environmental studies for later this year, to be followed by more formal hearings on the routing and economic issues.

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