Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for the ‘CapX2020’ Category

First CapX2020 161 kilovolt (kV) line energized for Rochester area

Friday, May 16th, 2014

The first of two 161 kV transmission lines for the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse (WI) part of the CapX2020 transmission project was energized on May 15, providing increased electric reliability to the Rochester area.


The 161 kV line spans from the new North Rochester substation to RPU’s Northern Hills substation. Another 161 kV line is scheduled to go in-service to the east of Rochester in 2015.


This is the first major electric transmission project in southeast Minnesota in over 30 years. When complete, the Rochester area will have added redundancy in its transmission infrastructure providing for added security and reliability.


Completion of the Rochester-Hampton-La Crosse (WI) transmission line project is scheduled for late 2015.


The other partners on this line along with RPU include: Xcel Energy, SMMPA, Dairyland, and WPPI.


For additional information on CapX2020, visit the CapX2020 website at or contact RPU at 507.280.1500.


About Rochester Public Utilities


As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 120 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 38,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include smart grid, water sustainability, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.



CapX2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse transmission line construction underway

Friday, February 22nd, 2013




Tim Carlsgaard

Office: (612) 330-7967

Cell: (612) 201-7538



Contact: Xcel Energy Media Relations

Media Line: (612) 215-5300




CapX2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse transmission line construction underway

Fourth CapX2020 project in construction phase; improves Rochester reliability


MINNEAPOLIS – February 22, 2013 – The CapX2020 utilities have started construction on the estimated $500 million, 150-mile Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse 345 kilovolt (kV) project. The first segment under construction is the 16-mile 161 kV line between a new North Rochester Substation, near Pine Island, and the existing Northern Hills Substation in northwest Rochester.  The CapX2020 transmission lines will provide reliable and affordable electric service to Minnesota and the surrounding region, while also expanding access to renewable energy.


“It has been six years since we started the public outreach, regulatory and routing process and we will continue to work closely with landowners and local officials as construction moves forward,” said Priti Patel, CapX2020 co-executive director. “The line will provide immediate benefits by enhancing electricity service reliability and allow for future growth and economic development in the area.”


The Minnesota portion of the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project is 345 kV double circuit capable which allows for future capacity expansion on the existing structures. To reduce land impacts, single-pole steel structures predominantly will be used. The poles are spaced about five per mile.


“RPU’s and SMMPA’s participation in the CapX2020 project will ensure greater reliability and system redundancy necessary as Rochester and southeast Minnesota continue to grow,” said Tony Benson, RPU’s spokesperson and Dan Hayes, SMMPA’s communications manager. “In addition, the added transmission infrastructure will provide a robust system for us to import and export energy as needed today and well into the future,” said Tony Benson, RPU communications coordinator and Dan Hayes, SMMPA manager of renewable energy programs and agency communications.


Work on the North Rochester-Northern Hills 161 kV segment will be completed this summer. Foundation work on the 45 mile 345 kV segment between the North Rochester Substation and the Mississippi River is scheduled to start in August. Construction in Wisconsin will start in 2014 with an in-service date of 2015 for the entire project.


Partners in the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project include Dairyland Power Cooperative, Rochester Public Utilities, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, WPPI Energy and Xcel Energy.


CapX2020 update

The Bemidji-Grand Rapids 230 kV project was energized in fall 2012 and the 28-mile Monticello-St. Cloud 345 kV transmission line was completed in December 2011. Construction continues between St. Cloud and Fargo as well as on the Brookings County-Hampton 345 kV project. The CapX2020 utilities expect to file a regulatory application in South Dakota for the Big Stone South-Brookings County 345 kV project in mid-2013.


About CapX2020

CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 investor-owned, cooperative and municipal utilities in North Dakota and the surrounding region to upgrade and expand the electric transmission grid to ensure continued reliable and affordable service. The CapX2020 projects include four 345 kV transmission lines and a 230 kV line and represent the largest development of new transmission in the Upper Midwest in 30 years. They are projected to cost more than $2 billion and cover a distance of nearly 800 miles. 

CapX2020 Granted Certificate of Need for 345-kilovolt Projects in Minnesota

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Contact Information
Randy Fordice, Great River Energy
Mary Sandok, Xcel Energy
(o) 612-215-5329
(media line) 612-215-5300

April 16, 2009

CapX2020 Granted Certificate of Need for 345-kilovolt Projects in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today granted the CapX2020 utilities a Certificate of Need to construct three 345-kilovolt electric transmission lines in Minnesota.

The decision confirms the need for a major upgrade of the region’s transmission system to meet customers’ growing demand for electricity and to increase access to new resources, including renewable energy in southern and western Minnesota and in North Dakota and South Dakota.

“The planning and regulatory review for high-voltage transmission lines is detailed, extensive and comprehensive,” said Laura McCarten of Xcel Energy, a CapX2020 co-leader. “The commission’s decision affirms the need for new infrastructure that will serve Minnesota customers with affordable, reliable electricity for years to come.”

The projects’ Certificate of Need application was filed in August 2007, starting a rigorous state review process that culminated in today’s decision. The three transmission lines approved today are:

  • A 240-mile, 345-kilovolt line between Brookings County, S.D., and Hampton, Minn., plus a related 345-kilovolt line between Marshall and Granite Falls, Minn.;
  • A 250-mile, 345-kilovolt line between Fargo, N.D., and Alexandria, St. Cloud and Monticello, Minn.;
  • A 150-mile, 345-kilovolt line between Hampton, Rochester, Minn., and La Crosse, Wis.

Today’s decision concerned the need for the three lines. The commission has yet to decide on the lines’ routes. Route Permit applications currently are under state review or in development; decisions are expected in 2010. State review processes for a 230-kilovolt line between Bemidji and Grand Rapids are under way; decisions on its Certificate of Need and Route Permit are expected in 2009 and 2010, respectively.  The commission also included a condition regarding guaranteeing a portion of the capacity of the Brookings, SD-Hampton, Minn., line for renewable energy.

Similar regulatory processes will be pursued for segments of the three 345-kilovolt lines in Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. Permits in those states will be filed in 2009 with decisions expected in 2010. Federal permits will also be applied for in 2009.

Increasing customer demand for electricity spurred need for new infrastructure

The CapX2020 planning process began in 2004 when utility engineers identified problems meeting expected increases in customers’ electricity needs. Additionally, the lines will provide capacity for resources in transmission-constrained areas, particularly in southern and western Minnesota where new renewable generation is planned.

“Today’s decision provides direction for new transmission that will ensure customers in and near Minnesota will continue to receive reliable electricity and help provide capacity to meet the nation’s most aggressive renewable energy standard,” said Terry Grove of Great River Energy, a CapX2020 co-leader.

The conceptual plans identified in the 2004 studies underwent extensive analysis to ensure the four projects – the three 345-kilovolt projects and the 230-kilovolt project – would deliver reliable electricity and were appropriate investments for the utilities and their customers.

The CapX2020 organization was formed in 2005 to develop the new transmission lines. The planned 700 miles of electric lines is the largest development of new transmission in Minnesota in nearly 30 years, a period in which electricity demand has dramatically increased.

Along with Great River Energy, Elk River, Minn., and Xcel Energy, Minneapolis, utilities or groups that expect to participate in one or more of the CapX 2020 projects are: Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Blue Earth, Minn.; Dairyland Power Cooperative, La Crosse, Wis.; Minnesota Power, Duluth, Minn.; Minnkota Power Cooperative, Grand Forks, N.D.; Missouri River Energy Services, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Otter Tail Power Company, Fergus Falls, Minn.; Rochester Public Utilities, Rochester, Minn.; Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Rochester, Minn., and WPPI Energy, Sun Prairie, Wis.

The ruling by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will be posted on the CapX 2020 Web site at