Allete Inc. and Grid United plan to jointly develop a $2.5 billion, 385-mile high-voltage direct-current transmission line from central North Dakota to Colstrip, Mont., the companies announced Jan. 30.
The line, dubbed the North Plains Connector, would create 3,000 MW of transfer capability between the Western Interconnection and two regional transmission organizations in the Eastern Interconnection: the Southwest Power Pool and the Midcontinent ISO. It is touted as the nation's first transmission connection between three regional electricity markets.
"Additional investment in transmission is critically important to [achieving] a clean energy future and is a key part of our 'Sustainability-in-Action' growth strategy as our national footprint expands," Bethany Owen, president and CEO of Allete, said in a statement. "This innovative project is an important step toward a resilient and reliable energy grid across a wide area of the country and ties into important transmission projects being developed in the Upper Midwest and the Western Interconnection."
Minnesota-based utility holding company Allete would oversee the operation of the line, which would be open to all sources of power, and intends to seek an ownership share of at least 35%.
More: Allete, Grid United partner on $2.5B proposal to link US East, West grids