Public hearing on Greenway power lines

A public meeting on Xcel Energy’s proposed Hiawatha Transmission Line Project is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St.

The Public Utilities Commission in May accepted Xcel’s application to build two electricity distribution substations and route two 115-kilovolt transmission lines down the Midtown Greenway. The informational session is one of the first steps in a yearlong review of the project.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security will host the meeting. Questions and concerns raised by the public at the meeting will help shape the environmental impact statement that must be completed before Xcel begins work on the project.

Xcel proposed the two overhead transmission lines along the Greenway to meet what the utility said was increased electricity demand in Midtown area driven by residential and business growth. But the plan has met with some resistance.

A City Council resolution approved in February urged the utility to bury the lines nearby instead of hanging them over the Greenway, a popular bike and pedestrian corridor. Burying the lines would add additional costs to the project.

The Midtown Greenway Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group that includes representatives from Southwest neighborhoods, opposes the lines. It proposed a combination of new renewable energy sources and aggressive conservation to meet energy needs in the Midtown area.

The Public Utility Commission will accept public comments on the project through July 10. To learn more about the project or submit a comment online, visit the commission’s website.

Click here to read Southwest Journal coverage of the project.

(Note: This story has been updated to correct the meeting date.)