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The Center for Rural Affairs has put together a rough approximation of where new clean energy transmission lines could be constructed. Most of these projects are still in the planning and development stages.

Wind power needs a way to get around

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ST. PAUL - The growth of wind-generated power in Minnesota could be seriously stifled due to a lack of transmission lines, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. The group's energy advocate, Johnathan Hladik, says the grid has not been updated in two decades, and if it isn't improved in the near future, some wind development projects may have to come to a halt.

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"We're getting to a point where it's almost a level of saturation. If we cannot move the energy from where it's produced to where it's needed most, then it doesn't make sense to produce the energy."

The seven lines currently proposed for the state could make a big difference, Hladik adds.

"Two of the most important projects in Minnesota are the Green Power Express and, of course, the CapX2020 project. The idea is to move the wind energy from where it's most abundant, in our rural and remote regions, to where it's needed most: population centers such as the Twin Cities."

With the need for lines and various projects, Hladik says now is the time for landowners to review plans and stand up for what they need in working with developers.

"We'd like to see better compensation for landowners who host transmission, maybe an equity ownership stake in the actual transmission lines, and making sure the transmission is in places that work for you. All these bring us closer to the end goal: economic development in these rural regions and domestically produced energy."

A map of the projects is available at the Center for Rural Affairs website, http://www.cfra.org/clean-energy-transmission-map.

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