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Northland Reliability Project

Northland Reliability Project


Regulatory process

Visit the Regulatory process page to learn more about the different regulatory agencies roles and each step in the approval timeline.

Environmental Assessment (EA)

The Minnesota Department of Commerce issued an environmental assessment (EA) for the project on June 28, 2024. The purpose of the EA is to provide information on the potential human and environmental impacts of the proposed project, possible mitigations for identified impacts, and evaluation of any alternatives contained in the scoping decision.

View the EA

Copies of the EA are available from the Department upon request; please contact Jim Sullivan at or 651-539-1059.

Combined Certificate of Need and Route Permit Application

In August 2023, we submitted our proposed route in our application for a Certificate of Need and Route Permit to the Minnesota PUC

If you prefer to review a hard copy of project filings visit one of these locations:

  • Aitkin - Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, 36559 US-169
  • Aitkin - Aitkin Public Library, 110 1st Ave. NE
  • Becker - Becker Great River Regional Library, 11500 Sherburne Ave.
  • Brainerd - Brainerd Public Library, 416 S. 5th St.
  • Brainerd - Crow Wing Power, 17330 MN-371
  • Crosby - Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library, 101 1st St. SE
  • Foley - Foley Great River Regional Library, 251 4th Ave. N
  • Grand Rapids - Grand Rapids Area Library, 140 NE 2nd St.
  • Hill City - Hill City Hall, 125 Lake Ave.
  • Little Falls - Little Falls Great River Regional Library, 108 3rd St. NE
  • Pierz - Pierz Great River Regional Library, 117 Main St. S
  • Sauk Rapids - Sauk Rapids Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N

Outreach materials

Visit our Events page to view materials presented at our outreach events.

Frequently asked questions

The Northland Reliability Project will ensure the power grid in northern and central Minnesota continues to operate safely and reliably as energy resources in Minnesota and the regional power system continue to evolve. As generation resources shift from fossil fuels to more renewable energy like wind and solar, the Northland Reliability Project is one part of the solution to:

  • Provide system support as the use of fossil-fueled baseload generators continues to evolve.
  • Facilitate increased capacity to safely and reliably deliver clean energy from where it is produced to where it is needed by our customers and members.
  • Enhance system resiliency during extreme weather events.
  • Plan proactively to meet changing customers’ and members’ power needs due to decarbonization and electrification.

The Northland Reliability Project will allow Minnesota Power and Great River Energy to continue delivering reliable, cleaner energy to our customers and members. This project will enhance the stability of our regional electric system and support a reliable, resilient and flexible energy grid so any type of generation, and from more locations, could be connected to meet the long-term energy needs of our customers and members. The Northland Reliability Project is part of a large portfolio of regional transmission projects approved by MISO, the region’s grid operator, in the summer of 2022. All of the projects in that portfolio work together to provide broad regional benefits in addition to local reliability benefits. While the Northland Reliability Project will directly support reliability in northern and central Minnesota, it supports reliability beyond Minnesota, as well.

Electricity is generated at power plants, wind or solar facilities and other generation sites before it is delivered across a complex, interconnected system of power lines and substations to electric customers and cooperative members. Think of transmission lines as the interstates, or the super highways of the electric system. Transmission lines carry large amounts of high-voltage electricity from generation sites to substations, where it is “stepped down” to lower voltages so it can be delivered across the electric distribution system, and can be safely used at homes, farms and businesses.

The project is estimated to cost between $970 million and $1.3 billion. Because the entire region benefits from the Northland Reliability Project, the cost is spread across all of the utilities who are members of MISO, the region’s grid operator. Ultimately, everyone who uses electricity in the MISO region will pay a share through their electric bills as costs flow through to electric utility customers and electric cooperative members. While there is cost associated with new transmission, transmission makes up a small portion of electric bills and the value of this project is high. The project is one of many that will ensure reliability in our region as our generation resources evolve. MISO, our region’s grid operator, estimates the benefit of bringing on more low-cost renewable energy, along with other benefits, outweighs the cost of these projects by two to four times.

In August of 2023, we applied for a Certificate of Need and Route Permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The proposed schedule is as follows:

  • 2022 – Project planning and initial stakeholder engagement
  • 2023 – Routing, public engagement and permitting
  • 2024-2026
    • Project real estate team initiates right-of-entry discussions with landowners for property access to conduct field surveys
    • Project survey teams conduct biological, cultural, and wetland resources surveys
    • Public Utilities Commission permitting (EA and Public Hearing) and construction access planning
    • Construction on Segment 2 may begin in 2025
  • 2027-2030 – Construction
  • 2030 –Anticipated in-service *

Yes and yes! You can get information and provide input by browsing this website and signing up for email updates. Property owners along the proposed route will receive information throughout the regulatory process and we are always available to discuss the project with each individual property owner.

You can subscribe to receive updates from the Public Utilities Commission. Visit and enter the docket number you’re interested in tracking. For information on the Certificate of Need use docket 22-416 and for information on the Route Permit use docket 22-415.

If you have property in the route corridor, you will receive communications about the project by mail and you will be invited to public open house meetings. If you own property on the final route that is approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, a project team member will contact you and begin the process for obtaining an easement on your property for the project’s right-of-way needs. A right-of-way is a strip of land used for a specific purpose such as the construction, operation and maintenance of a road or transmission line and it is typically secured in the form of an easement. The easement is the document allowing Minnesota Power and Great River Energy the right to use the portion of your property for the transmission line project’s needs. More information on the easement process will be made available when we have a better idea of what our proposed route will be.

Similar to other 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines recently built in Minnesota, the Northland Reliability Project will typically use a single-pole steel structure with three phases of wires on each side of the structure. This design is proven to withstand high winds and provide capacity to support the development of a reliable, resilient and flexible energy grid. Read the Typical Structures handout to learn more.

If you have questions not answered here, you can fill out the comment form, email or call 218-864-6059. Each comment goes to our project team and one of our team members will get back to you.

Due to MISO cost allocation, together, Great River Energy and Minnesota Power will pay 6% of the total project cost for the Northland Reliability Project. Minnesota Power has listed in the application that for their average customer, the project will add approximately $.82 - $1.14 a month to energy bills. Great River Energy expects a similar impact to cooperative members, but as a wholesale provider, Great River Energy does not set rates for end-use members. Each of Great River Energy’s 27 distribution cooperative member-owners develops their own rates based on individual costs, including allocated costs from Great River Energy. Transmission represents only 20% of Great River Energy’s total revenue requirement to its members. Further, Great River Energy pursued ownership of the project to manage transmission costs. By owning a portion of the project, Great River Energy member-owners will actually pay less for the project over the long run.