by Cori Hilsgen
People traveling on Stearns CR 2 between St. Joseph and Cold Spring have probably noticed work crews and helicopters working on the latest phase of the CapX 2020 high-voltage transmission line.
CapX 2020 is a joint project of 11 utilities to expand the electric transmission grid to meet the increasing demand for energy in Minnesota and surrounding areas. When finished, it will run from Fargo through the St. Joseph area and to the Quarry power substation west of the city.
The power lines are being strung on 120- to 150-foot single-circuit and 140- to 170-foot double-circuit steel tower structures spaced 800 to 1,000 feet apart. Helicopters are often used to string the wires from tower to tower so drivers are cautioned not to be distracted by the work crews.
The Upper Midwest electric transmission grid has not been updated in 30 years, but electricity consumption in the state has increased greatly. Much of this increased need is attributed to greater use of electronic items and appliances, along with increased size of homes.
CapX 2020 line construction is expected to be completed in 2015.