Minnesota Energy Connection Project Status

Learn what’s next for the
Minnesota Energy Connection project

Current Status - Spring/Summer 2024:

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in May approved the ‘scope’ of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Xcel Energy thanks all landowners, local officials, and other key stakeholders who submitted comments to the State of Minnesota as part of the scoping process. More than 75 additional route segments were suggested during this process, 60 of which will move forward to be studied in the EIS. The ones that were not included in the EIS were deemed not constructable, were in areas where there was not available right-of-way for the project, were close to other route options, or would have extensive impacts that would make the options not viable. Landowners on the new route options will be notified about the project by mail.

While the project is not currently in an open comment period, comments on the overall project can be submitted to the Commission at any time. Click here for Commission contact information and please reference docket numbers 22-131 (Certificate of Need and/or 22-132 (Route Permit) to ensure your comments are included in the correct docket

Next Steps - Fall 2024-Winter 2025:

Staff from the Department of Commerce’s Energy and Environmental Review Analysis will develop a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement, expected to be published in Fall 2024.

Xcel Energy and the State of Minnesota staff will coordinate public hearings overseen by an Administrative Law Judge who will develop a report and findings of fact for the Commission. The report will recommend if the Certificate of Need should be issued and, if so, which route is the least impactful. We expect hearings to be held in the fall with the report delivered to the Commission in early 2025.

The Commission is expected to decide on the Certificate of Need and Route Permit in early 2025.

Regulatory Review Process:

The Commission is responsible for reviewing applications for new high-voltage transmission lines.

We encourage you to sign up to receive email updates from the Commission when new items are filed in the dockets. To receive email notifications when new documents are filed. To subscribe, visit: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/Efiling, select Subscribe to eDockets and follow the prompts.

Project Need:

Xcel Energy is leading the clean energy transition with our plan to reduce carbon emissions 85% by 2030, moving closer to our vision to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.

As part of this transition, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s plan to retire all of its Upper Midwest coal generation, including the three Sherco units and replace them with renewable energy sources. In its order approving our Upper Midwest Energy Plan in early 2022, the Commission directed us to begin the permitting process for transmission lines to connect and deliver renewable energy to our customers, including the MN Energy Connection project to connect at Sherco.

We filed the Certificate of Need in March 2023. You can review it here.

Project Area:

The route proposals below were filed in October 2023 with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in our Route Permit application. The full application can be reviewed at MN.gov/puc

The revised route options were presented at public open houses in June 2023 and we are asking for feedback on the route options by the end of July.