Residents consider south Minneapolis power lineby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Residents will have a chance to comment Wednesday night on the environmental review of a proposed power line in South Minneapolis.
Xcel Energy wants to build a pair of high-voltage lines along the Midtown Greenway bike trail, and two new substations -- one at Hiawatha Avenue, the other at Oakland Avenue.
Critics say Xcel should encourage conservation and local power production, rather than building power lines.
But Project Manager Betty Betty Mirzayi says the growing area needs 55 megawatts more power than Xcel can reliably deliver now.
"We already have in that area really high participation level in our saver switch program, for instance, but that alone can't get us to that 55 megawatts that we need to achieve," Mirzayi said.
She said the Public Utilities Commission will decide whether the lines should be built on towers or underground.
Tim Springer, who directs the Midtown Greenway Coalition, said a lot of people would prefer stronger conservation efforts and local generation of electricity rather than new power lines.
"It's 2010 and we shouldn't be bringing in a lot of new energy into the area; if we need more energy we should figure out a way to conserve our way around it or to provide it locally using alternative means, and using smart grid to pull it all together and make it work," he said.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at the Plaza Verde on Lake Street.