Rochester segment of CapX2020 70 percent complete - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester segment of CapX2020 70 percent complete


PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) -- The weather played no favors for projects in the area this spring. Among those is the $500 million CapX2020 power project running from Hampton, Minn. to La Crosse, Wis. 

"The weather has been a huge factor," said CapX2020 communications manager Tim Carlsgaard.  Carlsgaard was out at the new substation site Thursday near Pine Island.  Trucks made round trips with loads of gravel to complete the foundation.

"This particular substation will be the end point for the 161 kV line that will go between this sub and the Northern Hills substation," Carlsgaard said.

The 161 kV power line connects to a substation in northwest Rochester.  When the Silver Lake power plant in Rochester burns the last of its coal, the Northern Hills substation will be its substitute.

"They have already announced that they will close that coal plant and, today, they are still using it because of this hot weather...trying to meet their needs," Carlsgaard said. "But they're burning through the remainder of their coal piles."

The CapX2020 project runs from Hampton to Pine Island and branched to Rochester and will branch on to La Crosse.

Some see the towers as an eyesore, however Carlsgaard said they're a necessity, and to bury them could cost 20 times more than having them overhead.

"It's not like a highway where you're out there and you're sitting in traffic and you say to yourself 'why don't they widen this highway? Add another lane?' because you can see that," Carlsgaard said. "On a transmission line you don't see the fact that that line is fully loaded and you can't put anymore of that electricity on there."

The Hampton, Rochester, and La Crosse route costs $500 million.  All five CapX2020 projects in the state combined will cover roughly 800 miles.

The Northern Hills segment is 70 percent complete and expected to be done by the end of the summer.

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