Northland Reliability Project

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Routing a transmission line is no small task. The state of Minnesota has statutes 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 own expertise is critical as we develop and finalize a route.

Routing process

Routing criteria

Throughout the route development process, we consider various opportunities and constraints such as those listed here.


  • Existing transmission line and utility corridors
  • Highways and roads
  • Property lines
  • Field lines


  • Agricultural considerations
  • Airports/air navigation facilities
  • Cemeteries
  • Communication towers*
  • Conservation areas/nature preserves
  • Cultural/archaeological and historic resources
  • Floodplains
  • Lakes/ponds
  • State/regional/local parks and trails
  • Levees/dams
  • Mines/quarries
  • Pipelines*
  • Potentially contaminated sites
  • Railroads*
  • Religious facilities
  • Residences (especially large clusters of homes)
  • Rivers/streams/wetlands
  • Scenic highways
  • Schools
  • Sensitive crops
  • Sensitive plant/animal species
  • Wells
*Constraints with additional precautions and studies required.

Five-step routing process

  • Define study area

  • Define route corridor

  • Define preliminary route

    We are here

  • Identify proposed route

  • Submit Certificate of Need and Route Permit to Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

    Engagement opportunities during PUC process

We’re currently on the third step, define preliminary route. After evaluating public input gathered during the first phase of open houses, online, through the hotline or email, meetings with local leaders, coordination with Tribes and agencies, we narrowed the route corridor further to define a preliminary route area. We’re again gathering public input around this preliminary route in order to identify our proposed route, used for permitting.

Regulatory process

Currently, we’re working to further define the preliminary route in order to identify the proposed route, which will be used to apply for a Certificate of Need and Route Permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in late summer 2023. At each point during the routing process, and even after we submit to the PUC, there will be opportunities for public input.

You can subscribe to receive updates from the PUC. 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.