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Published April 25, 2012, 04:50 PM

$312M Power Line Project From Center, ND, to Grand Forks Approved

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - After four years of planning, Minnkota Power Cooperative will start construction on one of the biggest power lines in North Dakota.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - After four years of planning, Minnkota Power Cooperative will start construction on one of the biggest power lines in North Dakota.

The new line will help stabilize power for more than 130,000 customers in the Grand Forks area.

The company received a permit on Wednesday to start construction on the 250-mile line from Center, ND, to Grand Forks.

Piece by piece, construction materials are starting to come together. Soon, one of the longest power lines in North Dakota will be built.

"Anyone within a 150-mile radius of Grand Forks will be better off from a reliability standpoint as a result of this project than they otherwise would have," Minnkota Vice President of Transmission Wally Lang said.

Minnkota Power Cooperative has been doing environmental work and holding public meetings over the past four years. On Wednesday, the North Dakota Public Service Commission granted the permit, which is the final phase in their review of the project.

"It will help serve our load, our consumers. We are growing each year by about one percent right now," Minnkota Communications Supervisor Kevin Fee said.

There is a lot of activity already taking place near the Prairie substation. The first poles for the project have arrived and although the area may look a little empty, soon it will be filled with construction materials.

The new line will bring more power to Grand Forks, and help stop outages as the area continues to grow.

"Eventually you get to the point where any contingency will cause the grid not to support the electrical load and have an area-wide blackout," Lang said.

Building another line into Grand Forks will help eliminate that issue for the more than 130,000 customers Minnkota serves. Construction on the $312 million transmission line will start next month.

"We plan to start construction in mid-May in the Binford, North Dakota area where we're going to go a little west at first and then east towards Grand Forks," Fee said.

"Getting this permit today was a big milestone in terms of getting construction underway," Lang said.

The power line is expected to be finished by the end of 2013. There will likely be moderate rate increases over the next few years due to the construction.

If you would like more information on where construction is at you can log onto www.minnkotacgf.com

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