Alexandria to
Big Oaks

Transmission expansion
to benefit
Minnesota customers

Current status

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is reviewing the Certificate of Need for both the western and eastern segments of the Big Stone South-Alexandria-Big Oaks project, along with the Route Permit application for the eastern segment between Alexandria and the Big Oaks substation near Becker. The State has added new river crossing options that were recommended during the public scoping comment period. These options will be studied in the state's Environmental Assessment, which will be published at the end of May, and are eligible to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission later this year.

The project has been assigned to an Administrative Law Judge who will set a schedule for testimony and hearings to be scheduled. When that schedule is approved we will work with State of Minnesota staff to inform landowners, local officials and stakeholders.

Project overview

Several Minnesota energy companies that built the CapX2020 Fargo-St. Cloud/Monticello transmission project have proposed a new transmission line that will add new transmission infrastructure to increase reliability, reduce grid congestion, and increase access to new renewable energy in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

The Alexandria-Big Oaks project will mainly involve adding a new transmission line on the existing CapX2020 structures between Alexandria and a new substation to be located on Xcel Energy property near the Sherco power plant in Becker, Minn.

The Alexandria-Big Oaks project is associated with the Big Stone South-Alexandria-Big Oaks project, which submitted a combined Certificate of Need application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Learn more about the Big Stone South-Alexandria project here, including the status of route development on that western segment of the project.

If the Certificate of Need and eastern segment Route Permit are approved, construction could begin in late 2024 and be complete in 2026.

Project Need

Minnesota's electric grid has served customers reliably for more than a century as our energy system has grown and changed. In recent years, utilities have added new renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and retired aging plants. Additional plant retirements and renewable additions throughout the region require us to build new transmission projects to deliver electricity from where it's generated to where it's used.

Additionally, as the system has changed, the existing system is under stress and experiences congestion, which limits the amount of electricity that can reliably be delivered to customers. The Big Stone South-Alexandria-Big Oaks project will help reduce that congestion, providing benefits to customers throughout the Upper Midwest.

Regulatory Process

Minnesota law requires energy companies proposing high-voltage transmission lines to apply for a Certificate of need and a route permit, which are reviewed by the Public Utilities Commission following a public review process. To view the certificate of need application, eastern segment route permit, and other filings in the proceeding, click here (, click on e-dockets, and select 22-538 (22 stands for the year 2022 when information was first filed), and click 'search.' For the eastern segment route permit application and relevant documents, select 23-159.

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