On Tuesday June 22, a yearlong, behind-the-scenes struggle among wind developers, utilities and transmission line owners will come to a head. At stake is Minnesota’s and the rest of the Upper Midwest’s aspirations to build a business of exporting wind energy to other parts of the country in the coming decades.
The fight centers on who pays for the construction of costly high-voltage transmission lines expected to carry electricity from isolated wind farms to the Twin Cities, Chicago and points to the east.
Wind energy advocates who have seen early drafts of the new rules say a plan to require energy generators to pay about 20 percent of the cost of new lines — whether they use wind, coal or any other fuel — is too heavy a burden for their industry.
If the 20 percent share goes through, wind industry advocates say projects may leave the region for other parts of the nation where the costs of new transmission is cheaper. Read more about MISO Rule Changes