Minnesota Power, an electric service provider, will acquire a major financial stake in a new transmission line in central Minnesota.

The 28-mile, 345kV power line between Monticello and St Cloud was granted a route permit by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in July 2010, and construction of the project is expected to be completed in late 2011.

The transmission line is the first project approved for the CapX2020 transmission expansion initiative.

CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota and the surrounding region formed to upgrade and expand the electric transmission grid.

Minnesota Power plans to initially participate in three CapX2020 projects: the Fargo-St Cloud project, the Monticello-St Cloud project and the 230kV line between Bemidji and Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center near Grand Rapids.

Based on projected costs of the three transmission lines and the percentage agreements among participating utilities, Minnesota Power plans to invest between $100m and $125m in the CapX2020 initiative through 2015.