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Northland Reliability Project

Northland Reliability Project
Northland Reliability Project

A reliable, resilient, flexible energy grid.

Northland Reliability Project

A reliable, resilient, flexible energy grid.

Northland Reliability Project

A reliable, resilient, flexible energy grid.

Northland Reliability Project

A reliable, resilient, flexible energy grid.

The PUC is hosting public hearings on the project. View dates and times.

The way we power our communities is shifting from fossil fuels to more renewables. Because the energy resources we use to serve our customers and members are changing, the regional power grid we use to deliver that energy needs to change too.

To ensure we maintain a reliable, resilient and flexible grid, we are investing in our transmission infrastructure to enhance its stability long term.

Current activities

  • Regulatory process

    Learn more about the regulatory process and how to subscribe to updates from the State. Stay informed
  • Landowner process

    We work closely with landowners to answer questions and solicit input, and negotiate and gather necessary land rights. What to expect
  • Field surveys

    Field surveys help us verify or collect new information about the proposed route to help minimize impacts for structure locations and construction of the transmission line. Learn more

Project components

The project consists of two major segments and some additional project improvements:

Segment one: New double circuit 345-kV line

Build about 140 miles of new 345-kV double-circuit transmission lines, generally located near existing transmission line corridors, from Minnesota Power’s Iron Range Substation in Itasca County to Great River Energy’s Benton County Substation in Benton County near St. Cloud.

Segment two: Replace two existing transmission lines

  • Replace an approximately 20-mile 230-kV line with two 345-kV circuits from Benton County Substation to a new substation named Big Oaks Substation in Sherburne County along existing transmission corridors on double circuit 345-kV structures. The Big Oaks Substation will be built as part of a separate project called Alexandria to Big Oaks.
  • Replace an approximately 20-mile 345-kV line from the Benton County Substation to the Sherco Substation in Sherburne County along existing transmission corridors using double-circuit 345-kV structures.

Additional project improvements

  • Expand the existing Iron Range Substation near Grand Rapids and the Benton County Substation near St. Cloud.
  • Install a new substation at or near the existing Riverton Substation and reconfigure existing transmission lines in the Riverton area.

Click on the image to enlarge

How we got to a proposed route

We followed a multi-phased routing process. The state of Minnesota has statues and rules that guide the route development process and help minimize a project’s impact to human settlement and the environment. Input from you, local leaders and agencies, as well as our technical experience and requirements, was critical in the development of the route we proposed in our application.

Click images to enlarge

Study area
(fall 2022)

Stakeholder workshops

Route corridor
(January 2023)

Phase 1 of public engagement

Preliminary route
(May 2023)

Phase 2 of public engagement

Proposed route
(August 2023)

Filed with the PUC

Project benefits

The Northland Reliability Project will support continued reliable electric service in northern and central Minnesota, as well as the greater Upper Midwest region. It will:

  • System support

    Provide system support as fossil-fueled baseload generation is retired.

  • Increase capacity

    Facilitate increased capacity to safely and reliably deliver clean energy from where it’s produced to where it's needed by our customers and members.

  • Strengthen resiliency

    Enhance system resiliency during extreme weather events.

  • Enhance flexibility

    Meet future energy needs by enabling the transfer of many types of power generation and locations to meet the needs of our customers and members.

Project timeline

  • 2022

    Project planning and initial stakeholder engagement

  • 2023

    Routing, public engagement and permitting

  • 2024 - 2026

    Permitting, engineering, environmental surveys, real estate and public engagement

    Construction on Segment 2 is anticipated to begin in 2025

  • 2027 - 2030


  • 2030

    Anticipated in-service

Stay informed

Stay up-to-date on the project by signing up for email updates and reviewing project materials.