Access to electric power has never been more important than right now. Reliable transmission lines - as part of the national power grid - form the backbone of future investments in technology. And with the advent of hybrid and electric vehicles, that demand will only increase.

That's why two of the top names in electric utility and transmission have joined forces to make a significant investment in that national power grid.

Allete, Inc., which is headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota has partnered with Grid United - an independent transmission company - to develop the North Plains Connector. Once finished, the 325-mile high voltage transmission line will be the first transmission connection between three regional electric energy markets in the United States: the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the Western Interconnection, and the Southwest Power Pool. Essentially, it will run a connection between central North Dakota to Colstrip, Montana.

Total investment on the grid connection is approximately $2.5 billion. Allete's ownership stake is expected to be "at least 35%". They would also oversee the line's operation.

High-voltage wires and poles are covered with frost on a frosty winter day.

According to information shared with the announcement, the transmission line would mark a substantial benefit for the United States power grid:

"This new link, open to all sources of electric generation, would create 3,000 megawatts of transfer capacity between the middle of the county and all three energy markets, easing congestion on the transmission system, increasing resiliency and reliability, and enabling fast sharing of energy resources across a vast area with diverse weather patterns."

Both companies - Allete and Grid United - signed a memorandum of understanding to forge ahead with the project. Work is expected to enter the development agreement phase during the first half of 2023.

Investing in the future of the national grid is central to the agreements purpose. Allete Chair, President, and CEO Bethany Owen explains:

"Additional investment in transmission is critically important to achieve a clean-energy future and is a key part of our 'Sustainability In Action' growth strategy as our national footprint expands. This innovative project is an important step toward a resilient and reliable energy grid across a wide area of the country and ties into important transmission projects being developed in the Upper Midwest and the Western Interconnection."

Both Allete and Grid United expect the permitting phase for the project work to start later this year. Landowners and stakeholders will meet to "determine the best route for the line". The expected in-service date for the North Plains Connector HVDC Line is 2029.

11 Traits All Minnesotans Have

Things That Might Surprise First Time Minnesota Visitors

16 Strange Travel-Related Things That Have Happened On Minnesota / Wisconsin Roads

More From KOOL 101.7