Back in 2003, the Minnesota PUC approved a series of transmission upgrades requested by Xcel energy. In order to credibly ensure that the transmission was in fact used for renewables (and not just cover for routine expansion) the PUC conditioned the project on Xcel entering into contracts with wind farms in tandem with the completion of the lines. The Southwest Minnesota lines are under construction and in several instances substantially complete. In many respects this project represents the success story for transmission: landowner concerns were addressed, transmission capacity will be expanded, and the utility will increase its mix of renewable generation.

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