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MDU, Otter Tail to build a new high-voltage power line

Two investor-owned utilities are planning to build a new high-voltage power line from Jamestown to Ellendale.

MDU and Otter Tail Power say the reason is congestion in southeastern North Dakota.

"There's more generation in the southeast part of the state than can exit-out on the existing power lines," said MDU spokesperson Mark Hanson.

Hanson said there are a number of wind power projects that have had trouble getting space for their generation on the existing lines. And he said it can create “negative pricing.”

"They'll be paying a user to take the power," Hanson said. "It would be someone local, because they (power producers) can't move it down the line."

Hanson said the line would be a high-voltage 345 kilovolt line, running from MDU’s Ellendale substation to Otter Tail’s Jamestown substation.

"That additional transmission line capacity would allow existing power production to have some room to move its power, as well as take on new generation," Hanson said. "There are projects that have been on hold until there is capacity on the line for those to be built."

The two utilities have asked for a certificate of “public convenience and necessity” from North Dakota’s Public Service Commission. The PSC will also look at a proposed route later.

The two utilities already co-own a high voltage line from South Dakota’s Big Stone power plant to Ellendale.

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