Image courtesy Xcel Energy

On Tuesday, Xcel Energy proposed two route options for the Minnesota Energy Connection, an approximately 175-mile-long transmission line that would connect new low-cost wind and solar energy in southwest Minnesota between Lyon County and Becker.

Both proposed routes would pass through the northern part of the KLGR-area. The route options follow existing corridors where possible, such as roads and existing transmission lines, and try to minimize impacts to land use, agricultural operations, natural resources, cultural and historical sites, and recreational areas.

The transmission line will link up to 4,000 megawatts of new renewable energy to the grid, replacing electricity generated at the retiring Sherco coal plant.

Michael Lamb, senior vice president, customer delivery, gas and electric with Xcel Energy, stated Tuesday that Southwest Minnesota holds some of the richest wind resources in the country.

If both the certificate of need and route permit are approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission within the next year, construction could begin on the transmission line in late 2025 and complete in late 2027. The project is expected to represent an infrastructure investment of more than $1 billion for the region and create hundreds of jobs to build the transmission line and associated renewable energy projects.