Operational Excellence
October 23, 2023

Xcel Energy transmission projects among those to receive $464 million DOE grant

Funding will lead to more renewable energy, improved reliability

Two projects being developed by Xcel Energy have been awarded a significant portion of a $464 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to expand transmission lines, boost reliability and affordability, and open up capacity to add new electricity generation to the grid. The grant will fund about a quarter of the cost for the projects. 

The projects are part of a larger effort called the Joint Targeted Interconnection Queue (JTIQ), a first-of-its-kind collaboration between two regional transmission organizations: the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), with coordination from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The project will help to fund the construction of high-voltage transmission lines that improve reliability, resolve constraints in the transmission system and open the door for up to 30 gigawatts of new generation, much of which will be wind energy.
The five JTIQ transmission projects will span seven states: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Xcel Energy is co-developing two of the five segments: one in collaboration with Otter Tail Power in North Dakota and another in collaboration with ITC in Minnesota.  

“Over the last 15 years, Xcel Energy has been the leading transmission developer in the country, having built approximately 3,300 miles of new lines,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “By collaborating with our regional transmission organizations, our fellow utilities, and state agencies, we will continue to build out a grid that advances the transition to clean energy.” 

Unprecedented growth of utility-scale wind and solar projects in the central U.S. has created a bottleneck in the process of interconnecting new generation. Right now, the transmission system along the locations where MISO and SPP meet is at capacity, and upgrades are too costly for individual energy developers. 

The coordinated JTIQ projects will provide energy developers more certainty in the cost and timing of interconnecting with the grid, reduce the cost of energy production, and lower energy costs for consumers. The projects will also increase MISO and SPP’s ability to transfer energy between their regions to optimize operations in the area where their regions meet, especially during extreme weather conditions. 

“Enhancing our transmission infrastructure is crucial to serving our customers with affordable, reliable energy to power their daily lives,” said Michael Lamb, senior vice president customer delivery, gas and electric with Xcel Energy. “We look forward bringing even more carbon-free electricity into our systems.” 

The Department of Energy grant is expected to cover about a quarter of the costs of the JTIQ projects and to spur over $1 billion in additional private sector investments, reducing the cost to developers and utility customers. The Department of Energy grant is contingent on negotiation and project logistics. 

Xcel Energy has directly and through collaborations been awarded up to $1.5 billion in federal funding for clean energy and resiliency initiatives. The company has been recognized for its leadership and innovation in clean fuels in its Heartland Hydrogen Hub applications (up to $925 million), wildfire and resiliency (up to $100 million) and long duration energy storage (up to $70 million). Each of the federal grants require a substantial portion of private funds from Xcel Energy and its collaborators for a total of almost $6 billion in investments. 

"Xcel Energy has led the clean energy transition for nearly two decades," said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. "We are proud to collaborate in building a cleaner energy economy in Minnesota and to access federal funds that make it more affordable for our customers and communities." 

The five projects that constitute JTIQ are: 
  • Bison Substation (ND) to Hankinson (ND) to Big Stone (SD) 
  • Lyon County (MN) to Lakefield (MN) 
  • Raun Substation (NE) to S3452 Substation (NE) 
  • Auburn (NE) to Hoyt (KS) 
  • Sibley Substation 345 Bus Reconfiguration (MO) 
Learn more about Xcel Energy’s transmission projects, including our work with Grid North Partners to upgrade transmission lines and substations in the Upper Midwest and reduce system congestion.