American Transmission Co.: Construction to begin on Badger Coulee power line

transmission march elp 7

American Transmission Co., in its recently released 2015 Annual Report, said that construction is set to begin this spring on the 180-mile, 345-kV Badger Coulee line, to meet a 2018 in-service date.

“Badger Coulee Construction Segment 1 foundation installation is scheduled to begin in May,” a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on March 30.

The company noted that “regulatory and construction activity remained apace” last year.

ATC said that it continued to advance projects that will deliver reliability, economic and public policy benefits, adding that Wisconsin regulators approved several new major construction projects in 2015, along with various rebuilds and upgrades.

Construction was approved last April for the Badger Coulee line from La Crosse to northern Dane County in western Wisconsin. Designated a multi-value project by the Midcontinent ISO, the project will enable the delivery of energy in support of reliability, economic and public policy benefits, while improving access to renewable energy resources, ATC added.

The estimated $580 million project cost will be shared among all electric users in MISO’s footprint, including 15 Midwestern states and Manitoba, Canada. ATC noted that the project is a partnership between ATC and Xcel Energy.

The company also noted that construction has started on the $328 million North Appleton–Morgan portion of the Bay Lake project in northeastern Wisconsin, which was approved last May by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The project, which is expected to be placed in service in 2019, will include 345-kV and 138-kV lines from the North Appleton substation in Outagamie County to the Morgan substation in Oconto County.

ATC added that a new substation, Benson Lake, will be built to accommodate a large voltage-control device at the site of ATC’s Amberg substation in Marinette County. Additional work will be required at 11 other substations.

ATC also noted that the PSC approved smaller transmission rebuilds and upgrades around the state, totaling about $88 million.

Two new transmission lines and a new We Energies substation were placed into service in western Milwaukee County last year, including the Western Milwaukee County Electric Reliability Project, which provides for the area’s growing electric needs and the critical nature of the Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma centers located within the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center complex.

The 12.5-mile, 138-kV Paris–Albers project was placed into service last March, ATC added, noting that the line rebuild in Kenosha County, Wis., runs from the Paris substation in Paris to the Albers substation in Kenosha. The project will enhance electric reliability in southeastern Wisconsin.

ATC further noted that the Monroe County–Council Creek project, which was placed into service last April, involved building a new substation in Tomah, Wis., upgrading an approximately 17-mile, 69-kV transmission line from the Monroe County substation in Sparta, Wis., to the Council Creek substation in Tomah, and adding a 161-kV circuit to the line.

“Our studies show that the investment we have made in our network saves our customers more than $100 [million] per year in reduced energy costs,” Mike Rowe, president, CEO and chairman of ATC, said in the report. “Continued participation in regional and economic planning for the build-out of the transmission grid will ensure those savings into the future.”

He also noted that extending ATC’s operational, construction and service expertise to other areas of the country has been the focus of the company’s business development team.

ATC’s partnership with Duke Energy, DATC, continues to work on development opportunities throughout the country, Rowe said.

“Separately, our ATC development team has been working with six utilities in the Railbelt region of Alaska to help develop a plan to transition from separately operated transmission assets to a single organization that is responsible for the operation, maintenance and upgrade of the transmission network,” he said. “At the end of 2015, the utilities filed their second progress report with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska on the voluntary effort to create an Alaska Railbelt Transco. We will continue to work with the Railbelt utilities in 2016 to assess the benefit of a Transco to Alaska energy users.”

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