Minnesota Power seeks OK for line connecting Iron Range, Manitoba

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Minnesota Power has asked state regulators to approve a high-voltage transmission line that would bring hydroelectric power from Manitoba to the Iron Range.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the utility filed a "certificate of need" with the Public Utilities Commission this week. The newspaper says the 240-mile line no longer includes an extension from the Range to Hermantown, which was once part of the company's plan.

Northland's News Center reports the cost of the Great Northern Transmission Line would be in the $400 million-to-$600 million range, depending upon the exact route.

In announcing its filing with the PUC, Minnesota Power says the project will help the company toward its goal of using renewable sources to generate one-third of the energy it provides. The News Tribune notes it would also position the utility to meet the electricity needs of any new or expanded mines in the area.

Last year the PUC authorized Minnesota Power's purchase of 25 Megawatts of energy from Manitoba Hydro, which would own 49 percent of the transmission line project.

Minnesota Power has a website with more details about the proposal.

A Red Wing attorney skeptical of the need for the project maintains a blog called the Not-So-Great Northern Transmission Line.

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