A map compiled by the Center for Rural Affairs  shows new and proposed electric transmission lines designed to take wind power from the plains where it is generated to the Midwestern cities where it will be used. One proposed line on that map (although an approximation, since no routes have been finalized) goes through the Dakotafire region: Wells, Stustman, LaMoure and Dickey counties in North Dakota, and Brown, Edmunds, Faulk and Hand counties in South Dakota.
View Transmission Map  in a larger map
These lines will be key for increasing the potential of wind power, according to the Center for Rural Affairs:
Think of transmission as a catalyst, facilitator, or enabler — we are unable to develop the next generation of wind projects without a new set of lines designed to carry wind energy from where it’s most abundant to where it’s needed most. Similar to a railroad or interstate system, transmission is the key to bringing our energy commodities to market.
This proposed transmission line is part of the Green Power Express project , which would extend 3,000 miles across the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. The line is intended to be in place by 2020, though many regulatory hurdles need to be cleared first. According to the CfRA, the project “has the potential to result in a reduction of up to 34 million metric tons of carbon emissions, which is equal to the yearly emissions of seven to nine 600 megawatt coal plants, or 9 million to 11 million cars.”
Whatever the potential positive impact for the wider region, the placement of those routes will be of importance to the landowners and communities near them. This paper by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin  outlines some of the potential concerns landowners may have about transmission lines on their property, and also discusses steps that can be taken to mitigate them.
What do you think?
Do you see economic potential in transmission lines through the Dakotafire region, or do you have concerns about their presence? Comment below!