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.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace