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Studies and Reports > 2009 MN Biennial Report > WC Planning Zone > Needs: 6.4.5 Douglas County-Paynesville-Wakefield-West St. Cloud

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Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.4: West Central Zone
p. 147

6.4.5 Douglas County-Paynesville-Wakefield-West St. Cloud

Tracking Number. 2003-WC-N8

Utility. Great River Energy/Xcel Energy

Inadequacy. This area includes the 69 kV system that is served from the Douglas County, West St. Cloud, Paynesville and Wakefield 115/69 kV source. As reported in past Biennial Reports including the 2007 Biennial Report, there has been significant load growth along the I-94 corridor between Douglas County and West St. Cloud, and the need for transmission improvement has been discussed in multiple studies on this area. Near term system deficiencies include low voltage problems around the West St. Cloud area for the loss of the West St. Cloud transformer and the West St. Cloud transformer overload for the loss of the Richmond tap to Big Fish Tap 69 kV line. In recent summers, utility customers have reported an increasing incidence of load management programs, including interruptions to farming irrigation activities.

A map of the area is shown following this section.

Alternatives. As a result of the immediate need for system improvements in the West St. Cloud area, GRE will upgrade Stearns Electric Association’s LeSauk 69kV distribution sub to 115 kV with a tentative plan to upgrade the Westwood I distribution sub to the nearest 115 kV system. As part of the long term solution in this area, GRE evaluated two additional alternatives in addition to what was reported in the 2007 Biennial Report. The following are the alternatives:

1) New Alexandria to West St. Cloud 115 kV line with a 115 /69 kV source at Albany.

2) New Alexandria –Albany – Big Fish – Rockville 115 kV line with a 115/69 kV source at Albany

3) New Alexandria to Albany to St Stephen 115 kV line with a 115/69 kV source at Albany

4) Capacitor bank installation with new 69 kV transmission line additions in the system.

5) Distributed Generation

Most of these alternatives will parallel the Fargo to Monticello 345 kV project that is being planned by the CapX 2020 group. Stakeholders of this project – GRE, Xcel Energy and MRES – plan to further study these alternatives and produce or modify alternatives to address the long term needs of the area.

Analysis. Analyses of these options show that all the transmission alternatives except Alternative 4 are found to benefit the area equally. Alternative 4 is not capable of addressing the overload issue at the West St. Cloud transformer and the 69 kV system between West St. Cloud and Albany. Comparison of these alternatives based on their present worth values show that Alternative 1 is the least cost plan to address the system deficiencies in the area for a long term. As these alternatives may need to be coordinated with the CapX 2020 345 kV projects in the area, the preferred alternative is subject to change. Additional study of this area will kick off during fall 2009.

Distributed generation is not a desirable alternative as the geographical location of the area follows the I-94 corridor where load growth is substantial. The 69 kV system currently serves large loads, such as Melrose and Sauk Centre, which contribute to the congestion and low voltage problems in the 69 kV system. These loads need to be upgraded to 115 kV to relieve loading and improve voltage on the 69 kV system in the area. This area, moreover, has the potential to attract new large industrial loads, which would require a significant incremental cost to install distributed generation to serve such loads in the area. Thus, distributed generation is not a preferred option to address the long-term needs of the transmission system in the area.

Schedule. Construction of the preferred option is highly impacted by the CapX 2020 Fargo to Monticello 345 kV project schedule. Based on GRE’s 2008 Long Range Plan, the preferred alternative is recommended to be constructed in two phases. Phase 1 of this project would involve construction of a 115 kV line from Alexandria to Albany and establishing a 115/ 69 kV source at Albany in 2016 timeframe. Phase 2 of this option would include the construction of the Albany to West St. Cloud 115 kV line in the 2021 timeframe. As mentioned above, the preferred alternative and the dates are subject to change based on the planned re-study on the area and other constraints, such as routing and scheduling of the CapX 2020 Fargo to Monticello 345 kV project


Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.4: West Central Zone
p. 149

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