US-based Xcel Energy announced that the CapX2020 utilities have begun construction on the estimated $500m, 150-mile Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse 345kV project.

The new power lines will provide affordable electricity service to Minnesotans and the neighboring region, while also expanding access to renewable energy.

The first segment being constructed is the 16-mile 161kV transmission line between the existing Northern Hills Substation and a new North Rochester Substation.

Commenting on the transmission line project, CapX2020 co-executive director Priti Patel said, "The line will provide immediate benefits by enhancing electricity service reliability and allow for future growth and economic development in the area."

Participants in the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project are Xcel Energy, RPU, SMPPA, Dairyland Power Cooperative, and WPPI Energy.

Work on the North Rochester-Northern Hills 161kV segment is slated to be completed in the summer 2013.