Plymouth-Area Power Grid Upgrades

Project Update

March, 2017

On March 14, 2017 the Plymouth City Council approved a zoning and Conditional Use Permit (CUP) applications submitted by Xcel Energy to the City of Plymouth to construct the new Pomerleau Lake Substation as part of the utility’s plan to upgrade long-term electric reliability in the Plymouth area. The zoning approvals and CUP will allow Xcel Energy to move forward on plans to build the new substation on a site north of Schmidt Lake Road, just west of I-494.   A construction schedule, project maps and further information are available on this page.

November 30, 2016

We have been working with the community to develop a solution to address electric deficiencies in the Plymouth area for more than seven years. After we withdrew our Hollydale 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line proposal in 2013, we began working to develop new alternatives to ensure the community has reliable electric service. While the population in the city of Plymouth has quadrupled over the last 40 years, the four primary electric substations, as well as the majority of distribution and transmission lines serving the Plymouth area are between 25 and 60 years old.

Three different electric solutions were developed with careful consideration of public input along with a focus on minimizing impacts to the community. We presented these three alternatives (A, B, and C) at two public meetings in May, 2016. The three power grid alternatives would improve reliability by reducing outages caused by overloaded equipment, and by decreasing the amount of time necessary to recover from an outage. Following these public meetings, we carefully reviewed all input, revised alternatives where possible, and compared the three alternatives using both public input and a data-based comparison.

View detailed decision document

Modified Alternative C selected

We are planning to construct a modified version of Alternative C (view map). This alternative relies on existing infrastructure, requiring less construction of new facilities and minimizing human and environmental impacts. In addition, Alternative C provides the best electrical performance of the three alternatives and is the best long-term solution for the area’s electrical needs.

Following the public meetings, we modified Alternative C by moving the location of the proposed Pomerleau Lake Substation (view substation location) to a parcel of city-owned land north of Schmidt Lake Road and just west of I-494. In addition to constructing the new Pomerleau Lake Substation, Alternative C includes reenergizing the existing 3.4-mile 69 kV line between the new Pomerleau Lake Substation and Hollydale Substation. Re-energizing the line will utilize the existing structures and infrastructure and require vegetation management. Alternative C also includes constructing a half-mile of 69 kV line parallel to an existing transmission line from the existing 69 kV line to the new Pomerleau Lake Substation, and building three 13.8 kV distribution lines (total of 3.3 miles) from the Hollydale Substation. The Hollydale substation will be upgraded on land own by us.  Alternative C requires no installation of additional pad-mounted transformers in Plymouth.

Great River Energy (GRE) owns the existing 69 kV line and easements in Plymouth. We are negotiating to purchase the line from GRE. In taking ownership of the 69 kV line and easements, we have agreed to restrict the operating voltage of the existing Hollydale to Pomerleau Lake line route to 69 kV.

Approximate timeline (subject to change)

  • December, 2016: File conditional use permit and negotiate land purchase with the city of Plymouth for Pomerleau Lake Substation
  • June 2017: Start construction of Pomerleau Lake Substation
  • Spring 2018: Start construction of a half-mile of new 69 kV line to connect existing Hollydale 69 kV line to Pomerleau Lake Substation
  • December 2018: Estimated in-service date for Pomerleau Lake Substation and re-energization of 69 kV line between Hollydale and Pomerleau Lake (including a half-mile of new 69 kV line)
  • 2019-2020: Construction of Hollydale Substation upgrades and associated distribution feeders

Public Comments – We have received a significant number of public comments, and view this as a good outcome of our public outreach. View comments received below. In an effort to protect commenter’s privacy, names and contact information are redacted.

Comments part one (PDF)
Comments part two (PDF)
Comments part three (PDF)

Comments containing questions –We are working to provide answers to your questions in a timely manner.   Please view the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF updated 11/23/16) for answers to questions we have received in the comments.

Aging Infrastructure

While the population in the city of Plymouth has quadrupled over the last 40 years, the four primary electric substations, as well as the majority of distribution and transmission lines serving the Plymouth area are between 25 and 60 years old. The energy upgrades are an investment in the area’s future. They will significantly reduce and protect against potential power outages and strengthen the system serving the area.

May, 2016 Plymouth-area Engineering Study Report (PDF)

Public Outreach

Two open houses were held on May 25 to gain public input on the proposed alternatives. We will analyze and review all feedback and based on the analysis, may revise the alternatives, develop a new alternative or, if an alternative is seen to be supported by data and the public, will submit a proposal to the city for consideration.

Alternatives Proposed in May 2016

Alternative A - 34.5 kV from Pomerleau Lake Substation

View Map (PDF)

Construct Pomerleau Lake Substation south of Schmidt Lake Road, just west of I-494, build 4.3 miles of 34.5 kV distribution line to the existing Hollydale Substation on County Road 101 south of Highway 55, construct a 3.5-mile 34.5 kV distribution line along Fernbrook Lane and Highway 55 and install approximately 12 pad-mounted transformers.

Alternative B - 34.5 kV from Parkers Lake Substation

View Map (PDF)

Expand the existing Parkers Lake substation near I-494 and County Road 6, construct 5 miles of 34.5 kV distribution line from Parker’s Lake Substation to the existing Hollydale Substation on County Road 101 south of Highway 55, build a 4.7-mile 34.5 kV distribution line along Fernbrook Lane and Rockford Road and install approximately 12 pad-mounted transformers.

Alternative C - Re-energize existing 69kV line

View Map (PDF)

Construct Pomerleau Lake Substation south of Schmidt Lake Road, just west of I-494 and re-energize the existing 3.4-mile 69 kV line between the new Pomerleau Lake Substation and the existing Hollydale Substation (note the modified Alternative C moves Pomerleau Lake Substation north of Schmidt Lake Road). This route also requires constructing 0.7 miles of new 69 kV line and doing vegetation management along the existing 69 kV line, building two new 1.5-mile and one 0.3-mile 13.8 kV distribution lines from the Hollydale Substation and upgrading the Hollydale Substation on land owned by us. No pad-mounted transformers are required under this option.

*The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives.

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