Region doesn’t need power line project

American Transmission Co. held another open house on Tuesday in Onalaska for landowners who might be future hosts to the Badger-Coulee 345kV power line.

There are some important facts that were not reported. ATC’s Badger-Coulee Line will only be built if the CAPX2020 power line from Alma to Holmen is built first. CAPX2020 and Badger-Coulee are two segments of one monster line carrying coal-generated electricity from the Dakotas to states east of Wisconsin.

If CAPX2020 is not approved by the Public Service Commission, Badger-Coulee will never be built.

At Public Service Commission hearings in Madison in March, experts testified that the CAPX2020 power line project is not needed. Projections of energy demand submitted by CAPX2020 are more than double the projections found to be realistic by PSC staff.

Electrical need in Wisconsin is projected to increase very slowly between now and 2035. Rebuilding lower-voltage power lines can meet reliability needs for Wisconsin for the next three decades.

The decision whether to permit CAPX2020 will be made by the PSC by June 4. Two of the three PSC commissioners were appointed by Gov. Scott Walker.

The commissioners have heard the expert testimony, and they have heard the overwhelming public and local government opposition to the CAPX2020 line. But will industry lobbying have the final say?

The power of money can only be countered by the power of people. Call the governor and tell him we don’t need these power lines, and we don’t want them.

 Linda Van Art, La Crosse, April 22, 2012 click here for details

OPPONENTS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT STOPPING CAPX2020 PROJECT

(UNDATED) Opponents of major energy transmission line projects in the La Crosse area say if they can stop one project, they can stop both.

American Transmission Company recently narrowed down the prospective routes for the Badger-Coulee line, which would run 150 foot high power lines from La Crosse to Madison.

Opponents are not only against this project, but also want to stop the CapX2020 transmission line, which runs from the Dakotas and possibly to Wisconsin. Both lines would connect in La Crosse.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is expected to decide on CapX in June. ATC has yet to apply to the PSC for the Badger-Coulee line.

Citizens Energy Task Force’s Irv Balto says ATC’s project will not happen if CapX is rejected by the PSC. That’s because the increased kilovolt load would have to connect to smaller lines, “They have to hook up with this major power source, there isn’t another 345 kV coming into the La Crosse area and they want to hook up into north of La Crosse here and have this line.”

ATC Local Relations manager Sarah Justus says if CapX is not approved, they would have to reevaluate the Badger Coulee line, “There could be a number of solutions, we’d really have to take a look at what were the specific issues with the CapX2020 project and what our options might be.”

If the PSC approves the CapX2020 project, the PSC will choose the route the lines take. That will determine where the Badger-Coulee line could begin.

by Maureen McCollum April 20, 2012 WPR news click here for details

Utilities fight to build more power lines

Disputes occurring as residents pay higher rates

Some strange battle lines are being drawn in the quest by power companies to build new high-voltage lines.

The typical players in power-line fights are grass-roots groups clamoring, often in vain, to stop power companies from building the big projects.

The new disputes come at a time when Wisconsin ratepayers are paying above-average rates. They are pitting utility against utility, and, in once case, a former utility executive against his former employer.

by Thomas Content, Milwaukee Sentinel, April 21, 2012 click here for details

Opinions Divided On Badger Coulee Power Line

ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) – It would cost $425-million, paid for by Wisconsinites through a roughly one percent increase in their electricity rates.

American Transmission Company wants to build 345 kilovolt transmission line through Western Wisconsin, saying there is need for more energy here. “Right now the power is running on smaller lines,” says Sarah Justus, a local relations manager at ATC. “Trying to move power through those lines can cause congestion, which means you’re moving power through lines too small to handle the volume,” she adds. “That leads to your power outages, and those lines overloading.”

There are currently a number of routes the Badger Coulee Transmission line could take.

Tuesday, ATC held an open house to gauge input from the public regarding which route(s) would be best.
The company eventually has to submit an application to Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission in 2013. The PSC has the final say on whether the line gets built. Justus says the line would also connect La Crosse with renewable energy resources to the west.

“While we do have wind resources here in Wisconsin, they’re much more prevalent in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. So there’s a missing piece of how you bring that power to where the people are, here,” Justus says.

But protesters outside Tuesday’s event paint a different picture.

“This is about moving energy from dirty coal from the Dakotas,” says Irving Balto, one of the protesters. “It’s about making money.”

click for details