Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hiawatha Transmission Line to be Buried

As you can read here and here, the City of Minneapolis and the Midtown Greenway Coalition have been handed a tremendous win. The Public Utilities Commission has ruled that, in keeping with our strong, formally adopted position, Xcel's new Hiawatha transmission line should be buried under 28th Street East, rather than installed over the Greenway. This is good for the Greenway, and also the economic development potential of the Greenway corridor.

The PUC did not yet vote on how the costs for the line should be borne, but both Xcel and the City agree that they should be spread out to the entire Xcel rate base in Minnesota.

However, I continue to question the need for this transmission facility. Xcel has not demonstrated that a similar dollar investment put towards conservation and peak shaving could not meet the same need as this new transmission capacity. For instance, what if Xcel spent even a portion of this money to help large power users "store" cold by making ice at night, when there's less stress on the grid (and the wind is blowing), and use that ice to offset their air conditioning during the day?

Those questions aside, this is an important win for the community. If the line is to be built, under 28th Street is the appropriate place for it.


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