March 13, 2015 Two of the groups questioning need for the Badger Coulee regional transmission line, which would run from Holmen to Madison, have created a petition asking the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to deny the application.
The PSC is expected to make a decision on the application for the high-voltage transmission line in April. The project’s primary goal is to increase the regional west-to-east transfer of fossil-fuel and wind generated electricity into and through Wisconsin.
“By approving Badger Coulee, ratepayers in and out of Wisconsin will be saddled with unnecessary debt, and our nation tethered to an antiquated, monopolistic business model that rewards utilities for increased consumption and increased infrastructure,” the petition states. “Instead, denying the line would save money, protect property rights, and create jobs through locally generated energy and efficiency.”
The petition, offered by Citizens Energy Task Force (CETF) and Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL), says, “There is cause to pause and no valid ratepayer reason to rush forward. A few pennies a month of unguaranteed savings aren’t worth the risks to health, environment, and quality of life.”
Calling a system based on remote central generation and long-distance transfer of electricity unreliable, inefficient, and vulnerable to attack by man or nature, the petition says transmission supports increased consumption of all sources of electricity including coal and fracked gas.
By comparison, it says a less centralized system using local (distributed) generation and energy management tools enables reliability, resiliency, ratepayer cost savings, and environmental sustainability.
Wisconsin law requires the PSC to deny all or part of an application for new infrastructure if an alternative higher in the state’s energy priority list proves to be financially and technically feasible solution. Energy efficiency and conservation is number one on that list, and renewables are number two. CETF and SOUL contend the PSC has not yet done a cost/benefit analysis between the proposed line and non-transmission alternatives despite requests by thousands of ratepayers, a dozen legislators and nearly 100 municipalities.
To sign and share the petition, click here.