Office of Electricity

Energy Department Announces Approval of Great Northern Transmission Line

November 16, 2016

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The Department of Energy today announced the issuance of a Record of Decision and Presidential Permit for the Great Northern Transmission Line. The 224-mile overhead alternating current transmission line will bring up to 883 megawatts of hydropower from Manitoba Power in Canada to Grand Rapids, Minnesota and deliver wind power generated in North Dakota to Manitoba Power in Canada.

The project has the potential to provide enough reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity to serve approximately 600,000 residential customers in the Upper Midwest.

Transmission lines such as Great Northern address infrastructure challenges outlined in the 2015 Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focused on energy transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure. The QER acknowledged the importance of establishing transmission lines to facilitate development of remote generation such as wind energy, and found that new long-distance transmission capacity like the Great Northern Transmission Line has the potential to enable lower-emissions electricity, enhance system reliability and operate at a reasonable cost to consumers.

The transmission line is an example of the collaborative principles detailed in the new Integrated Interagency Pre-Application Process (IIP), a recently finalized rulemaking process that streamlines permitting and siting by encouraging early engagement with local, state and tribal communities on electric grid transmission projects. As a result, the Great Northern Transmission Line’s review was completed in 2.5 years. Large-scale infrastructure projects often take longer to complete.

For more information about the Great Northern Transmission Line, including the Final Environmental Impact Statement, Record of Decision, Programmatic Agreement and more, visit Energy.gov.