Badger Coulee application “complete”

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin — posted by admin on April 30, 2014 @ 4:30 pm


This in, earlier today:

PSC Norcross-Complete Application

Here’s an article in the La Crosse Tribune:

5 hours ago  • 

State regulators today accepted a revised application for a high-voltage power line between Holmen and Madison, triggering what’s likely to be a year-long review of the proposed $500-plus million project.

The move comes just over five months after the Public Service Commission rejected the initial application as incomplete, outlining 153 deficiencies. Concerns ranged 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.

A joint venture of ATC and Xcel Energy, the proposed 345-kilovolt line would connect to CapX2020, another high-voltage line being built between the Twin Cities and Holmen.

“We appreciate the public’s active involvement over the past several years in helping us evaluate possible routes,” ATC Manager of Environmental and Local Relations Greg Levesque said in a news release. “The PSC’s regulatory review phase allows further opportunity for stakeholders to submit comments directly to the PSC and be part of the process.”

Rob Danielson, a spokesman for one of several citizen groups opposing the project, said he still considers the application incomplete, because it fails to answer all the PSC’s questions and doesn’t address alternative solutions or the declining energy demand.

“We will continue to respond to requests for information,” said ATC spokeswoman Kaya Freiman. “It’s a totally normal part of the process.”

But Danielson was encouraged by the number of questions regulators asked.

“PSC questioning and persistence has supplied some important new information for ratepayers, including a report showing energy use in the Midwest has declined much faster than previously known … five times the recently reported national rate of decline,” he said.

The project includes two proposed routes out of the La Crosse area at a cost of $514 million to $552 million. One would go through Onalaska, the other between Holmen and Galesville, putting a second line of towers alongside those to be built for CapX.

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.

The PSC now has 180 days to approve or deny the application, with the possibility of a six-month extension.

If approved, ATC anticipates construction would begin in 2016 and to have the line in service by the end of 2018.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace