As expected, American Transmission Company and Xcel Energy have filed an official application with the Public Service Commission to build a high voltage transmission line to run approximately 160 to 180 miles from the La Crosse area to northern Dane County, eventually connecting to a substation in the town of Middleton .
The 345-kilovolt “Badger Coulee” line would feature towers similar to those running down the Beltline Highway in Madison. It is designed to move electricity generated in western states and Canada, including wind power, through Wisconsin to markets in Chicago and points east.
ATC is proposing two different routes: the 180-mile route roughly follows the Interstate highway corridor, the 160-mile route takes a more direct route across the hills of southwestern Wisconsin. The estimated cost is $514 million to $552 million, depending on the route.
The project has faced opposition for years from those living near the route and from advocates for alternative approaches to the current electric system.
Here is a story I wrote earlier on the expansion of Wisconsin’s electric transmission system.
The review process is expected to take 12 to 18 months. If the project is approved, construction of the project would begin in 2016 with service expected in 2018.
State Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, has already expressed skepticism over whether the project is needed, given the revised predictions for future electricity use in Wisconsin.
“The PSC reported in their Strategic Energy Assessment that we have more than adequate and reliable energy supplies for the forseeable future,” he said in a statement.
“That’s why we’re calling on the PSC to protect the public interest by evaluating all of our options for meeting energy needs in Wisconsin before considering large scale transmission projects. We need to adopt policies that assure Wisconsin energy users are actually benefiting from energy investments.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding