Chisago Xmsn line coming soon!

October 3rd, 2006


To get on the Chisago mailing list, email and, give them your name, address, phone and email, and ask to be on the Chisago Transmission list, both Certificate of Need and Siting dockets.

Chisago Transmission Project re-activated, Xcel starts process designating â??needâ??


Four years ago Xcel Energy started the process of seeking state authorization for a system reliability upgrade of its powerline through Chisago County. For a number of reasons Xcel shelved the project, but it has been resurrected.

Grant Stevenson, Xcel spokesperson, said notices are going out re-starting the Chisago County Reliability Improvement Project. The application for Certificate of Need is to be filed prior to the end of this month.

The most recent activity on this took place over the early summer.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reviewed and approved the proposed â??Notification Plan.â? Landowners affected directly by the potential project and adjacent landowners, plus local government units and others on the adopted notice list are to be sent notices directly.

Notification at this point entails making citizens aware of Xcel initiating the â??certificate of needâ? review. This is when the company provides proof it needs the planned powerline upgrade between Lindstrom and Taylors Falls for ensuring reliable electric service to customers. If state regulators determine there is a â??needâ? then the routing application is reviewed. Stevenson mentioned that because the route of the line isnâ??t changing (with minor exception for a new substation) the PUC will probably combine the public hearings for both facets of the project. â??We expect it to take a year for that review,â? Stevenson added.

This improved powerline will cross the St. Croix River (line running atop the hydro-electric structure) to merge with the Wisconsin power grid at St. Croix Falls. Xcel says there are 14 wires at the dam site now and once the upgrade is complete only five will remain overhead the structure.

The Wisconsin equivalent of the Xcel certificate of need has been approved by Wisconsin authorities, Stevenson noted.

No parcel has been acquired, but the general area favored for Xcelâ??s new substation at the west edge of Taylors Falls is somewhere near the wastewater treatment plant.

Stevenson said the project remains substantially the same as what was proposed in 2002; so within the viewshed of the St. Croix on either side (TF and St. Croix Falls) the new line would be buried.

Lines capable of carrying the increased voltage will be installed along the existing route that comes out of the electric station behind Lindstrom Foods, runs down First St. in Lindstrom, across the Chisago Lakes Middle School property, along the highway to Center City; then follows #37 through Shafer and into Taylors Falls.

The entire Washington County-Polk County, Wisconsin and Chisago County region is served by three substations. One north of Amery, Wisc, one in Lent Township on #14 in Chisago County and one in Arden Hills.

The system is 69 kilovolts. Itâ??s being boosted to 115 kv. and In Taylors Falls (out of the new substation) the line will be 161 kv, to connect to Wisconsinâ??s 161 system.

FOUR YEARS??? No, this project has been bumbling along for 10 years, TEN YEARS! It started back in 1996, that’s when I was going up there regularly, together with others from other projects, like folks from Florence Township to help locals learn the ropes of dealing with the EQB, and from Northfield I often went up with Mike (the Powerline expert) and Nancy Casper and Terry Kissner, we had a great crew wanting to share information about the siting process.

The first time out, it went to a contested case, but it all fell apart and NSP/Xcel withdrew its application after there was an agreement struck between NSP and the Cities of St. Croix Falls and Taylors Falls.
Diane Gerth, CRVC’s attorney at the time of the deal, said she was confused about whether I supported or opposed that deal, and to be very clear, I opposed it because it gave everything to NSP, and the Cities got lots of perks (we need more public info on this!) and CRVC got nothing but a transmission line through the area with twice the capacity as the one originally proposed — yeah, some deal. So I’m glad that CRVC didn’t approve that deal despite all those stumping for it, and I’m glad I made the motion that it be rejected! It also never should have been accepted by the cities because I don’t think they had a clue that the capacity of the line was doubled. Did Gerth? Did CRVC? Who involved in this knew that the capacity of that line would be doubled? And what did they all get that made it worthwhile? Let’s get that out into the open.

Here’s the deal (it was too big to include signature pages, if you want them, let me know):


Gerth also wants me to be clear about when I represented CRVC, which was in 2002 — I was NOT representing them at the time of this deal, thankfully, and I’m hoping that the details of this deal will now become public as this moves forward. We no longer have St. Croix Falls Mayor Terry Lundgren to kick around, he’s officially a felon now — he pled guilty in 2001 to Theft of Movable Property and Misconduct in Office, so he’s out of office. For that, click on this: and plug in “Terry Lundgren” and hit search and you’ll get it.
Here’s a 1998 City Pages article about it: Cheesehead Power? And dig this quote from Jimbo Alders: “If additional transfer capacity is found to be necessary in the future, we believe those needs can be accommodated without additional lines.” Yup, and then there’s CapX2020

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