The case for wind power growth in the northern plains states just got stronger. In February 2008, a partnership of two utility companies announced plans for a large-scale transmission line, which will accommodate several new wind farm developments in North Dakota.

Minnkota Power Cooperative of Grand Forks, N.D., and Otter Tail Power Co. of Fergus Falls, Minn., notified North Dakota’s Public Service Commission that it intends to apply for a permit to build an approximately 60-mile-long, 230-kilovolt line from the city of Luverne to a substation near West Fargo. The cost of the project is pegged at $29 million, and it would be capable of carrying about 400 megawatts of power. It is targeted for completion in October of this year.

The utilities jointly are studying the feasibility of constructing a generation outlet, including high-voltage lines and substations, in the area. The outlet is needed to accommodate electricity from proposed wind projects in Barnes, Steele and Griggs counties. The projects would nearly double the state’s current wind power generating capacity of 475 megawatts.

M-Power LLC, of Finley, has proposed a 150-megawatt wind farm between the communities of Cooperstown, Hope and Luverne in Griggs and Steele counties. It is just north of a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm that FPL Energy of Juno Beach, Fla., is proposing to develop northeast of Valley City in Barnes County. The generation outlet and proposed wind projects require North Dakota Public Service Commission approval.