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Upgraded transmission line energized

CASS LAKE – The western segment of the new Bemidji-Grand Rapids 230 kilovolt transmission line went into service Monday.

Rod Scheel, vice president of asset management for Otter Tail Power Co., said energizing the line “directly benefits people in north central Minnesota by providing long-term reliable electric service.”

Otter Tail Power led construction of the CapX2020 project.

Last month, the eastern segment of the 70‐mile line was energized. The project connects the Wilton Substation near Bemidji and the Boswell Substation near Grand Rapids, allowing more electricity to flow to and from the region and relieving bottlenecks that sometimes occurred during periods of high demand.

Significant high-voltage transmission capacity had not been added to the north central Minnesota area for more than 30 years.

“Besides enhancing reliability, the 230 kilovolt line provides additional capacity to serve the area’s growing demand for electricity and wind energy development in Western Minnesota and the Dakotas,” Scheel said in a news release. “And when you look at all the CapX2020 projects being built, you see that this multi-utility initiative is implementing a comprehensive plan that will help keep electric service to customers in the Upper Midwest among the most affordable and reliable in the nation.”

Otter Tail Power, Minnesota Power, Minnkota Power Cooperative Inc., Great River Energy and Xcel Energy are partners in the project.

In related news, the release said construction is under way on the Fargo-St. Cloud 345-kilovolt CapX2020 project between Alexandria and St. Cloud.The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the route permit for the North Dakota portion of the project.