Opponents speaking out about new proposed High Voltage Power line to La Crosse (WKBT TV)

Transcript of video from WKBT TV8 in La Crosse, WI:

Plans are on the table to build a new high-voltage power line that would link Madison to La Crosse. But like other proposed power line projects in the Midwest, this one is creating some controversy.

Wisconsin based American Transmission Company is looking to build what would be known as the “Badger Coulee Transmission Line.”

Company officials say the 345-thousand volt power line would boost the reliability of the state’s electric system, provide savings for utilities and energy customers, support renewable energy and improve access to wind power.

You might remember, the CapX2020 project in Minnesota that involves building transmission lines that would reach from the Twin Cities to La Crosse.

A spokesperson for CapX says while transmission lines aren’t popular, they’re needed to meet future demand. “They really need this Wisconsin line, this La Crosse to Madison, if you’re going to move all this additional electricity generation that’s created by all these wind farms,” says Tim Carlsgaard from CapX2020.

Citizens Energy Task Force is one group that’s against both the Badger Coulee Transmission Line and the CapX2020 project.

Members are questioning what the benefits of a high-voltage power line would be and who will pay for it. They also say the lines are a bad idea for our energy future.  “The newer technologies of having solar and wind and various renewables including our friend coal, who’ve been using for many years. It’s cheap electricity. These things can be mixed together at local points and used and distributed locally, using new power grids much, much smaller. Much less expensive and much more efficiently,” says Citizen’s Energy Taskforce Member Jeremy Chipps.

If approved, the La Crosse to Madison power line would be built by 2018.

Watch the video and add your comments!

High-voltage power line would link Madison, La Crosse

Thomas Content blogged at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

American Transmission Co. announced Monday that it will seek to build a 345,000-volt power line linking Madison and La Crosse, with the cost of the project tentatively pegged at $425 million.

The Pewaukee-based power company says two years of study have shown that a 150-mile line would boost electric system reliability, savings for utilities buying power in the Midwest wholesale power market and improve access to wind power generated west of Wisconsin.

No route has yet been selected and the company will spend the next two years exploring routing alternatives in the corridor shown above. A detailed cost estimate will be available once potential routes for the line are selected, said ATC spokeswoman Anne Spaltholz.

The company will host open houses with the public and stakeholders beginning this fall to explore routing choices, she said.

The line, which has been given the name Badger Coulee Transmission Line, is expected to offset the need for about $140 million in lower-voltage upgrades in western Wisconsin communities, ATC said, citing its own studies.

ATC is a transmission-line company that is owned primarily by the local electric utilities in eastern Wisconsin.

Details about the location and cost of the line will be announced when ATC submits a formal application for the line to the state Public Service Commission in 2013. At that time, the company will submit detailed routing information about two alternatives for the commission to consider.

If approved, the line would be built by 2018.

The 345,000-volt line would be a tie-in linking up the new 345,000-volt line that is under construction around Madison, and a line proposed by Xcel Energy and other utilities that is projected to cross Minnesota and connect to Wisconsin near La Crosse.

“There are multiple benefit indicators that make the Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project a plus for Wisconsin residents and the Midwest,” says John Procario, ATC chairman and chief executive said in a statement. “It’s an exciting new project because it demonstrates multiple benefits. Badger Coulee enhances electric system reliability; it provides direct energy cost savings to electricity users, and it supports the public’s desire for the greater use of renewable energy resources.”

I’ll have more about the project on JSOnline and in Tuesday’s Journal Sentinel.