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.

Project expected to have a $2 billion total economic impact in Minnesota. Read the new report.

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.

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  • Print a Map Find your area and download a detailed pdf map of the route alternatives.
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Our project

Minnesota Power and Great River Energy plan to build the Northland Reliability Project, an approximately 180-mile, double-circuit 345-kV transmission line from northern Minnesota to central Minnesota near Becker that will support grid reliability and resilience in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest as the regional power system continues to evolve.

This is one of a portfolio of transmission projects approved in July 2022 by the region's grid operator, MISO, as part of the first phase of its Long Range Transmission Plan. In total, MISO approved 18 projects across its Midwest subregion, with six, including this one, in the Upper Midwest.

Project components

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.
Study Area Map

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

    Construction

  • 2030

    Anticipated in-service

Stay informed

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

Who we are

Minnesota Power

Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, supporting comfort, security and quality of life for 150,000 customers, 15 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the United States.

Great River Energy

Great River Energy is a not-for-profit wholesale electric power cooperative which provides electricity to approximately 1.7 million people through its 27 member-owner cooperatives and customers. Through our member-owners, we serve two-thirds of Minnesota geographically and parts of Wisconsin.