Minnesota Power is holding public meetings over the next two weeks in northern Minnesota to talk about a proposed 500 kilovolt Great Northern Transmission Line that would run from the northwest corner of the state, to Hermantown. It would carry power generated by hydro electric plants in Manitoba.
Minnesota Power's environmental siting and permitting supervisor Jim Atkinson says it's very early in the permitting process for the line, but public input will help choose the best route.
"It's first impact to people and trying to minimize that. And then we need to look at a whole litany of environmental considerations, from wetlands and cultural resources, threatened and endangered species. In order to do that and really refine that, we need to meet with as many people as we can," he said.
Atkinson says construction on the line is expected to start in 2017 and take three years to complete. Once complete, line could reduce the need for coal generated electricity and help meet growing electricity demand on the Iron Range, he said.
Public meetings will be held in northwestern Minnesota the week of April 15 and on the Iron Range the week of April 22.