Wisconsin says Hampton-LaX application INCOMPLETE!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on February 8, 2011 @ 9:55 am



It’s one of those “Well, DUH,” moments, but there you have it, an agency stating the obvious, and doing it in delightful detail:

PSC Administrator’s Letter of Incompleteness

This is a must read, the list is a great example of what Minnesota should be requiring, and isn’t!

Add to it the letter received days before from the WI DOT noting that there are scenic easements that get in the way of the CapX applicants’ plans!

WI DOT letter to Hillstrom, Xcel – Janary 27, 2011

I love it when that happens…

Here’s an article from the Winona Post:

Wisconsin rules CapX 2020 app incomplete (02/09/2011)

By Sarah Elmquist

A portion of the proposed CapX2020 electric transmission lines that would connect Alma, Wis. to a substation near Holmen, Wis. hit a snag this week, after the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin determined the lengthy application was incomplete. The PSC included dozens of detailed requirements for information and documents that need to be added to the application for the project to be considered, including areas in the application where environmental review was deemed insufficient, where greater information was needed, and where the utilities need to further explore the ways that efficiency programs might change electricity use projections.

Two possible routes have been proposed for this portion of the CapX2020 project. One would run along the Mississippi River from Alma, Wis., to the La Crosse area. The other would travel from Alma east to Arcadia and then south to La Crosse.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) also released a letter to the PSC urging a more diligent study of the impact that the project might have on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway (GRRNSB) route. According to the letter, if one of two routes is chosen that would send the 150-foot towers along the GRRNSB, it is possible that portions of the scenic byway could be segmented or excluded as part of the byway program where the towers would be most visible. “Obviously, WisDOT is concerned that a potential gap could occur in the 250-mile Wisconsin segment,” states the letter from WisDOT Deputy Secretary Mike Berg. “This in turn would diminish the public value and decades of preservation and enhancement efforts of this major multi-state corridor and create a negative impression of Wisconsin when compared to the other ten states that the GRRNSB runs through.”

The letter also complains that the utilities consortium has not properly worked to avoid impacts to the GRRNSB, nor has it adequately recognized the public value of the scenic easements along the route. Additionally, the letter questions whether conservation easements in place now would allow for the erection of new transmission lines at all. And, if easements are granted for state owned land for the project, the letter says that the utility companies are going to have to compensate for each affected parcel, and those costs should be factored into the whole project, states the letter, “since this could affect its potential viability.”

Some of the additional information required by the PSC for consideration of the project includes:

•Information on what would be included with the estimated $5,000 per mile for agricultural protection and how the figure was estimated;

•Provide written documentation from the WisDOT and/or the Wisconsin Mississippi River Parkway Commission identifying the values that will be affected by this project along the GRRNSB route along with an explanation of the values identified;

•Include information about DNR owned or managed lands, including new easements or changes to existing easements necessary and information on how the project would affect the management plans for DNR properties;

•Provide satisfactory reports on endangered and threatened species, how the route could avoid rare bird nesting areas at the Amsterdam Grasslands Area owned by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy;

•Provide a table that summarizes where rare species or potentially suitable habitat for rare species occurs along each project route, and describe how the proposed project could be modified to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any potential adverse effect on the species;

•Identify state-designated trout streams and/or exceptional or outstanding waters for all areas adjacent to state designated waters, and describe the additional construction practices that would be employed to adequately protect the function of these streams;

•Provide construction options in areas where matting and ice roads may not be sufficient in wetland areas. If helicopter construction is an option, especially within the Black River Floodplain, include estimate costs;

•Identify locations where there is greater than 10 percent slope and include whether these areas are located near or in sensitive areas;

•Provide details on mitigation of construction impacts to agricultural areas including construction practices and recovery options;

•Document construction techniques for tree clearing along State Highway 35 Black River crossing; and

•Provide additional information regarding energy efficiency programs to satisfy the requirements of the Energy Priorities Law.

According to the PSC request for further information for the CapX2020 application, the list may grow as the state agencies review the project. Read the Winona Post in the coming weeks for more on the application process and project.


  1. Bravo, Wisconsin, my old alma mater. They are looking into the matter. That’s good to hear. What a long list of requested info. Impressive.

    Comment by Stephanie Henriksen — February 8, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  2. why isn’t mn involved like this??

    Comment by J.P. Pomerenke — February 8, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  3. Minnesota is INCOMPLETE with a lot of things! When will Minnesota get the politics and nonsense out of transmission and power plant siting, and look at the actual need and common sense siting? Why is the Department of Commerce overseeing projects? Why is the public being left out, ill-informed by the Office of Energy Security and the PUC, and not listened to? Does Minnesota belong to the politicians, the corporate elites, and state government bureaucrats? It appears so. Thanks for the WI PSC Letter of Incompleteness!

    Comment by Marie McNamara — February 8, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  4. Not surprising for a developer to wait for the State to ask?

    In looking at the PSC’s check list, some of the last items might be worth noting:

    Under GIS Data/Digital Data 2.3.3;, the PSC requests,
    (1) ” Load Mgmt.
    (A) The number of residential customers in the La Crosse study area that participate in a direct load program with break out between air conditioning only and air conditioning with water heating. 
    (B) The percentage of residential customers in the study area that participate in a direct load program, broken out by air
    conditioning only and air conditioning with water heating.
    (C) The coincident load reduction available from the residential customers participating in the these programs in the La Crosse study area.

    I’m not sure that the study area would be sufficient to measure as the power could be distributed to a much larger area. Requiring the developer to provide an indicator of how much money has been spent towards peak load management using less invasive ways like direct load programs could be expanded.

    (3). Load Mgmt. Was an energy efficiency analysis conducted to determine if additional energy efficiency is available in the La Crosse study that is not already reflected in the forecast? If so, describe the study method and provide the results.

    The language is unclear. Could they be asking if there are more energy efficiency “measures?” that can be taken in the La Crosse study? We need a copy of a previous study that Xcel or ATC has provided to satisfy such a request. especially since, “simply modeling existing energy efficiency is not adequate to meet the Energy Priorities Law.” PSC docket 137-CE-140.

    Item (4) is about requiring the company to manage its own energy efficiency program or use Focus on Energy incentives.

    Item (5) is about having the energy efficiency programs provide (peak) load management services.

    Comment by Rob D. — February 8, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace