Hydropower is being delivered from the Canadian province of Manitoba to the US state of Minnesota following completion of the Great Northern Transmission Line (GNTL). 

Allete company Minnesota Power said that the 500kV line – which is 224 miles long – Is delivering 250MW of hydro to its customers.

The GNTL was completed in February 2020, under budget and ahead of schedule. It runs from the Canadian border in Roseau County to a substation near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. It is made up of 800 tower structures fabricated in the US, with about 2200 miles of wire used to install the line’s conductors.

“This is such an incredible achievement for Minnesota Power, Allete, and our region, and is the culmination of a decade-long vision brought to life by our talented and dedicated employees,” said Allete President and CEO Bethany Owen. “The GNTL will help Minnesota Power to provide our customers with 50 percent renewable energy less than a year from now. As part of our EnergyForward strategy, it also strengthens the grid across the Midwest and in Canada, enhancing reliability for all of our customers.”

The line, which is connected to Manitoba Hydro’s recently completed Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project at the border, will allow for a much larger role for renewables in the North American energy grid.

As part of the project, Minnesota Power engaged federal, state and local agencies; the sovereign Red Lake Nation and other tribes; and landowners along the proposed routes beginning in 2012. Through 75 voluntary meetings and other outreach forums, a preferred route was selected with strong support from stakeholders that was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in April 2016.

A four-year state and federal regulatory process culminated in late 2016 when the federal Department of Energy approved a Presidential Permit for the GNTL, needed because of the international border crossing. Construction of the line began in early 2017.