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Studies and Reports > 2009 MN Biennial Report > NE Planning Zone > Needs: 6.3.5 Pierz-Genola Area

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Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.3: Northeast Zone
p. 93

6.3.5 Pierz-Genola Area

Tracking Number. 2003-NE-N5

Utility. Great River Energy

Inadequacy. The Pierz-Genola system consists of a 34.5 kV system that ties together the 115/34.5 kV sources between Blanchard and Little Falls. GRE first reported in 2003 that load growth in the area had reached the point where the system may overload and voltage violations may occur. Additionally, Crow Wing Power (CWP) added an additional distribution point near the town of Buckman in 2009 that will add to system loading issues. Fortunately, the Platte River 115/34.5 kV source provides an emergency backup supply for the Blanchard source and has delayed the need for additional transmission investment in the area.

A map of the area is shown following the discussion.

Alternatives. The Platte River 115/34.5 kV source north of Rice was constructed in 2007 to address contingent loading and voltage issues on this system. This is expected to provide a short-term solution for the issues identified. Additional long-term solutions are required.

Potential long-term alternatives are:

(1) Conversion of the Crow Wing Power (CWP) Little Falls and Lastrup substations to 115 kV service.

(2) Generation in the Buckman area.

Analysis. Conversion of the Crow Wing Power Little Falls and Lastrup substations would remove the two largest loads from the 34.5 kV system and greatly extend the life of the system, while allowing for continued load growth of these Crow Wing Power substations. Since the CWP Little Falls Substation is only 3-4 miles from the Minnesota Power Little Falls 115 kV Substation and is the largest load on the 34.5 kV system, the CWP Little Falls Substation would be the first substation to be converted. Extending a 115 kV line to the Lastrup Substation would require, at a minimum, ten miles of transmission so deferring this conversion would be desirable. Also, due to voltage support considerations on the 115 kV system near Little Falls, a new 230/115 kV source near Pierz/Lastrup may be required in the future. The CWP Lastrup and Little Falls conversions would help to establish a 115 kV connection from this source to the MP Little Falls Substation.

Generation in the Buckman area continues to be a possible solution because it would place a voltage source in the middle of the system. However, it is uncertain whether generation would be able to resolve the voltage drop on the transmission lines, leading to continued voltage problems. Also, the generation would have to be on-line during transmission outages, which is unlikely to occur due to the small size of the generation plant based on limited transmission outlet capacity.

Schedule. GRE has been monitoring the situation in this area for several years now and will continue to do so. Installation of a new source north of the community of Rice in 2007 has provided some short term relief, but it is anticipated that a solution will need to be in place in the 2012-2014 timeframe. Extending any transmission line between the CWP Little Falls and Lastrup substations would exceed ten miles in length, so a Certificate of Need from the Public Utilities Commission and a Route Permit would be required.


Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.3: Northeast Zone
p. 95

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