Donate!!! Yes, you!! See that “PayPal” button up to the right? Join the challenge to transmission that they don’t need and we don’t want! No CapX 2020 has Intervened in the ITC Midwest MN/IA Certificate of Need, a public interest intervention focused on showing up to weigh in on the big picture issues (Important note, No CapX 2020 is aiding public participation, but not taking a position on route.).
Several groups opposed to a high-voltage transmission line across western Wisconsin have petitioned state utility regulators for a new hearing on the controversial $580 million project that was approved last month.
The Citizens Energy Task Force and Save Our Unique Lands jointly petitioned the Public Service Commission Wednesday for a rehearing on the panel’s April 23 decision to approve the line, known as Badger-Coulee.
A joint venture of Xcel Energy and American Transmission Company, the 345-kilovolt line will originate at a substation under construction near Briggs Road that is part of CapX2020, another high-voltage transmission project running across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Crews are at work raising towers along the $211 million portion of that project between Alma and Holmen, with work expected to be completed this summer.
ATC and Xcel say the project will improve system reliability, deliver cheaper power and provide a pipeline for wind energy from Minnesota and Iowa to population centers to the east. Opponents contended the line will allow utilities to profit by trading energy while discouraging more cost-effective local alternatives such as energy efficiency and solar power.
The groups, both intervenors in the case, claim new evidence corroborates their position that the line is not needed, citing data from the federal Energy Information Administration that shows U.S. electricity sales fell steeply during the recession and have not grown since rebounding in 2010.
“Savings potential from high capacity transmission lines generally declines as energy use drops,” the groups said in a news release. “There are indications that contrary to terms of PSC approval, the project could make energy cost more than if the line was not built. These costs would be felt in addition to the negative impacts on local economies where the line would be located.”
A group of 30 Dane County landowners filed a separate rehearing petition Wednesday asking the PSC to reject a 4.6-mile segment near Middleton, noting that route comes within 100 feet of three homes. As an alternative, they ask commissioners to require ATC to bury the line, a more expensive option.
Construction of the new line is not expected to begin until 2016, but ATC said it will begin acquiring easements along the route next month, working from south to north. Altogether, there are 318 residences – including 169 homes – within 300 feet of the approved route, which cuts through 617.5 acres of farmland.
Utilities, like governments, have the power of eminent domain, which means they have the legal right to take ownership or cross private property. Landowners must be compensated for their loss but do not have the power to refuse.
Real estate acquisition work on Badger Coulee Line to begin in May
News8000.com – WKBT–Apr 23, 2015
La Crosse Tribune – Apr 23, 2015
And this one with the “against evidence” headline:
Wisconsin PSC approves ATC-Xcel transmission to bring wind …
Utility Dive–Apr 27, 2015