PSC sends ATC & Badger Coulee to the woodshed

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin — posted by admin on November 23, 2013 @ 10:57 am

This is good news — Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission emphasized the “Public Service” part of their charge in their November 21, 2013 missive to ATC about the Joint ATC and Xcel Application for the Badger Coulee transmission line (PSC Docket 5-CE-142).

PSC Completeness Review – PSC REF #193819

There are fifteen single spaced pages of requests and a couple more on p. 16.  WOW.  They’re evenly divided between environmental issues and need, and the need ones just made my day, here’s the p. 9 requests… SNORT!!!

Docket 05-CE-142
Items Identified as Missing, Incomplete, or Requiring Clarification – Project Need

01.87. (Application p. 7; AFR Section 1.0.) Identify the owners and investors of the proposed project and percent of ownership of each (Wis. Admin. Code § PSC 111.55(6)).

01.88. (Application p. 7; AFR Section 1.0.) Discuss how DPC, WPPI, and/or SMMPA as investors of the proposed project would change the ownership for ATC and NSPW.

01.89. (Application, p. 22, AFR Section 1.7.) Provide the date by which Badger-Coulee must be completed and in-service, and explain what factors determine this time frame.

01.90. (Application pp. 24-30; AFR Section 2.0.) This section of the application discusses the need for and alternatives to the proposed project. The discussion refers to various sections of Appendix D, but does not provide a comprehensive summary of the results of the analysis. In order to allow for the public to better understand the need for the proposed project, revise and expand Section 2.0 of the application to include a comprehensive discussion of the need for and alternatives to the proposed project. Include in the revised section a quantitative summary of the costs and benefits of the proposed project for both Wisconsin and the MISO footprint, with a clear indication of each in supporting tables and data files. In this expanded summary, specifically address areas of need and alternatives including: local and regional load serving capability; regional benefits; alternatives including energy efficiency and other alternative sources of supply; and, other areas as appropriate. Include in this revised and expanded summary information included in any responses regarding questions relating to Application Appendix D.

01.91. (Application p. 28, Section 2.7; AFR Section 2.7.) Discuss whether and how any increased operation and maintenance costs for this project are considered in the analysis for the proposed project.

01.92. (Application p. 28; AFR Section 2.7.) Discuss whether and how one-time environmental impact fees and annual impact fees for the proposed project are considered in the analysis for the proposed project.

01.93. (Application p. 28; AFR Section 2.8.) Provide an updated reliability study to determine the base case reliability projects required. The study should reflect: lower currently projected peak and energy requirements; reliability projects that have already been completed or will be completed regardless of any 345 kV alternatives; announced retirements such as Nelson Dewey Units 1 and 2, and Alma Units 1 through 5 and any transmission upgrades required; the latest MISO generation interconnection requests, and the latest transmission interconnections. Discuss any differences in assumptions to those used in the PROMOD analysis.

That ought to keep them busy for a while…

In the Vernon County Broadcaster:

PSC asks for more information on Badger Coulee line

November 22, 2013 7:54 am  •  by Chris Hubbuch, Lee Newspapers

Wisconsin regulators asked for more information Thursday on the Badger-Coulee transmission project.

The Public Service Commission outlined 153 specific deficiencies in the application, which was filed a little more than four weeks ago.

The concerns range from missing or broken elements in electronic mapping files to requests for additional explanation of the project need — a key issue for project opponents, who argue that local energy demand has been dropping.

American Transmission Co., one of the project’s two developers, said it will work to provide the Public Service Commission with the additional information as soon as possible — likely sometime in 2014. That will delay the review process, which is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

The request for more details was not unexpected.

“Especially with the size and complexity of this project, it was somewhat to be expected,” said ATC spokeswoman Kaya Freiman.

According to the application, ATC hoped to begin construction in 2016 and to have the line in service by the end of 2018.

A joint venture of ATC and Xcel Energy, the project includes two proposed routes out of the La Crosse area at a cost of $514 million to $552 million. One could scuttle a major commercial development in Onalaska; the other would put a second line of towers — often running side-by-side — along an eight-mile route between Holmen and Galesville.

The line will connect to CapX2020, another high-voltage line being built between the Twin Cities and Holmen.

ATC says it will provide lower cost electricity and enhanced reliability for Wisconsin customers while also providing a pathway for renewable energy.

The project has prompted opposition and calls for a comprehensive study of alternatives from dozens of municipalities and counties in western Wisconsin. Business groups — including the state’s chamber of commerce and grocers’ association — have come out in support.

Rob Danielson is with SOUL of Wisconsin, a group that favors energy efficiency measures and other alternatives to the high-voltage project. He praised the PSC for asking to see a comprehensive discussion of the need for and alternatives to the project — including the costs and benefits of the project for both Wisconsin and the 11-state footprint of the regional wholesale electricity market.

But Danielson argued the board should consider the collective costs of transmission rather than approving projects in a “piecemeal” fashion and give emphasis to efficiency rather than capital-intensive investments.

“They really have to provide ratepayers a way to know what our energy options are,” he said. “This is a major, major expansion of centralized power. … Do we want to continue to support the finance industry?”

Two groups have petitioned the PSC for the right to intervene in the review.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) is the regional utility organization serving states across the Midwest and claims a substantial interest in the outcome.

Clean Wisconsin is a nonprofit environmental group seeking to minimize the project’s damage to environmentally sensitive areas.

“Western Wisconsin is just rich with wetlands and rare and endangered species,” said Katie Nekola, the group’s general counsel. “It’s an area of the state that absolutely needs protection.”

This story has been updated to reflect that American Transmission Company and Xcel Energy are equal partners in the Badger-Coulee project.

Badger Coulee — One lump or two?

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin — posted by admin on November 12, 2013 @ 10:21 am


WOW, what did this guy get for this “Guest Commentary” in the La Crosse Tribune?  What does he think about his electric rates going up?  Does he know they’re restarting La Crosse Unit #3?

Ed Lump: State’s economy gets boost from power projects

By Ed Lump | Madison

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is part of a coalition of groups that support the proposed Badger Coulee transmission line project. We often take for granted having reliable power for our homes and businesses, but for the restaurant industry and others, the stakes are too high to stand on the sidelines.

What do restaurants have to do with power lines you may ask? Imagine this hypothetical: It is a Saturday night at a busy restaurant in Wisconsin, and the power goes out. No food can be cooked. No dishes can be washed. The large investment in meat and produce that each restaurant makes on a daily basis is very quickly becoming worthless as time ticks on.

The restaurant ostensibly shuts down, losing sales but still having to pay for the food, staff and overhead costs — and the fallout of unhappy customers who will no doubt share with others tales of their terrible experience. This is the stuff that restaurateurs’ nightmares are made of.

Electricity is one of the highest operating costs for restaurants. After labor, capital expenses and food and beverage costs, energy is the next largest cost for most foodservice businesses.

Restaurants are making great strides in energy conservation, and many restaurants are passionate about energy efficiency and environmental awareness. However, the fact that the restaurant business is energy-intensive is unavoidable. Refrigeration, cooking, lighting, ambient heating and cooling and long hours of operation (morning, noon and night and seven days a week for many restaurants) all make for a high energy bill.

Access to affordable and reliable electricity is paramount to the success of the restaurant industry and others in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, western Wisconsin’s existing transmission system is not robust.

According to a comprehensive study of the area, it’s vulnerable to reliability issues. As our nation weans itself off fossil fuels, it’s critical that the infrastructure is in place to deliver low-cost, clean energy, such as wind power. While Wisconsin has a strong in-state wind resource, wind energy harnessed in western Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa can be more efficient and even cheaper.

Numerous studies have found that as the amount of wind energy generation increases in the upper Midwest, the transmission connection between Minnesota and Wisconsin becomes vitally important for the delivery of wind power to key load centers in Wisconsin.

The Badger Coulee transmission line project will improve the deliverability of the lowest-cost energy sources and help ensure that restaurants and other small businesses in Wisconsin will have the power they need to continue to be the hard-working engine of our economy. The project also will in itself have a positive economic impact on our state. The capital investment is expected to create and support more than 2,800 jobs during construction, and the line will generate millions in new tax revenue for local communities in Western Wisconsin.

Badger Coulee is a much-needed investment in Wisconsin’s energy infrastructure to help our state become better equipped to meet our future energy needs.

I encourage the public, state regulators and elected officials to join me in supporting the project.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace