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Powerline route options narrow

With technology advances quickly growing, the room for electrical capacity has become limited.

That's why CapX2020 has developed a system of transmission power lines to help make more room for electricity to move.

The CapX2020, a group of several different transmission utilities in Minnesota, has proposed two routes for the route from Fargo, North Dakota to St. Cloud.

One proposed route follows the I-94 corridor, about two miles south of Osakis.

The other proposed route meanders south of the freeway, traveling across the northern sections of Ashley Township in Stearns County into Westport Township of Pope County.

CapX2020 hosted a meeting for the Alexandria area Wednesday, July 29 to show where these power lines could possibly go, what they will be used for and other information about the electrical proposal.

"We want landowners to have a voice in this when it starts going through the state process," said Darrin Lahr, the routing lead of CapX2020. "This is the prep for the state, and once they start developing the system, the public can provide route alternatives."

CapX2020 is required by law to propose at least two different routes to the public. CapX2020 will also provide compensation as a one-time easement payment to property owners whose land will hold the power lines.

The power lines will be available for anyone who wants access to them. Electricity customers of Minnesota and the surrounding area will have an advantage to more sturdy, safe and dependable electric transmission system, according to CapX2020 leaders.

Those who use wind power will benefit significantly because their power from the wind has barely anywhere to go as of right now, according to CapX2020. Because the capacity for electrical transmissions will be much greater with these power lines, all wind energy will be able to go through the system.

"There are three reasons as to why these lines are being proposed," said Lahr. "One, local reliability. Minnesota citizens need to have an improved and dependable electric system. Two, the load growth is increasing with more people using electricity. And three, we want to get a high voltage footprint in the part of the state where there are high amounts of wind energy."

CapX2020 is applying for a permit from the state in October. The state will then have a hearing process that will last 12 to 15 months, after which they will begin building the power lines. The project will cost anywhere from $500 to $640 millon, depending on how long the lines actually are.

CapX2020 is hosting several meetings throughout central Minnesota where the power lines will go through. "We are experiencing all kinds of emotions from citizens," said Lahr. "Public opinions are very important and we want to take them into account."

For more information about CapX2020, go to its website at or call toll free at 1-800-238-7968.