The transmission line is delivering 250MW carbon-free hydropower from Manitoba in Canada to Minnesota Power customers


GNTL near Baudette, MN. (Credit: Minnesota Power.)

Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE, has energised its Great Northern Transmission Line by bringing a renewable energy delivery and storage system into operation.

Great Northern Transmission Line (GNTL) is a 224 mile (360km) line that runs from the Canadian border in Roseau County to a substation near Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Minnesota Power has completed the 500 kV power line in February 2020, which is now delivering 250MW carbon-free hydropower from Manitoba in Canada to Minnesota Power customers.

The transmission line has been built using 800 tower structures, fabricated in the US and using 10,000 tonnes of North American steel.

ALLETE president and CEO Bethany Owen said: “This is such an incredible achievement for Minnesota Power, ALLETE, and our region, and is the culmination of a decade-long vision brought to life by our talented and dedicated employees. The GNTL will help Minnesota Power to provide our customers with 50 percent renewable energy less than a year from now.

“A robust stakeholder process is essential to the success of any project, but especially when building a project of this scope. We appreciated the early engagement and support from stakeholders, local communities and tribes, agencies and regulators through the many approval milestones to the completion of the GNTL.”

Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro have collaborated on the project

Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro, a provincial Crown Corporation, have coordinated on the transmission project from the beginning.

By energising and connecting GNTL to Manitoba Hydro’s recently completed Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project, the companies now have the mechanism to rapidly balance energy supply and demand in Minnesota and Manitoba.

The carbon-free hydropower delivered by GNTL forms an important component of Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy to transition away from coal and add renewable power sources.

In addition, the project is also part of ALLETE strategy to advance and invest in critical regional transmission and distribution infrastructure to ensure grid integrity and enable cleaner energy to reduce carbon emissions.

Manitoba Hydro president and CEO Jay Grewal said: “The completion of Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line and our Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project is a testament to the creativity, perseverance, cooperation and skills of hundreds of people over so many years on both sides of the border.

“Perhaps even more importantly, it is a testament to the wonderful, longstanding relationship between our two companies and two countries. It shows just how much we can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal.”