The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin voted to grant a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for an approximate 48âmile 345 kV electric transmission line between Alma, Wisconsin, and Holmen, Wisconsin. The CapX2020 HamptonâRochesterâLa Crosse project will provide local reliability benefits to the La Crosse and Winona areas as well as to the rural Wisconsin areas of Buffalo, Trempealeau and La Crosse counties. It will also enhance regional reliability and increase access to lower cost renewable energy by providing a 345 kV link between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
âWe appreciate the time and effort of the Commission and staff as well as the many agencies and other stakeholders. The Wisconsin regulatory process is thorough, comprehensive and provides many opportunities for public and agency involvement,â said Priti Patel, CapX2020 coâdirector. âThe project expands the electric infrastructure to support the areaâs longâterm economic development and job growth.â
The Commission approved a modified Q1âGalesville route, which follows about 27 miles of the existing 60âyearâold Dairyland Power Cooperative 161 kV line near Highway 35. The Q1âGalesville route was modified in the Holmen area. The approved route connects the Q1âGalesville route to the Q1âHighway 35 route with a new halfâmile segment along a property line just north of the Highway 35 and Highway 53 interchange. The route modification generally avoids a future Holmen development area and would parallel Highway 53 for three miles into the new Briggs Road substation near Holmen. Detailed route maps will be posted by May 14 at www.capx2020.com/lacrosse.
âThe Commissioners considered the routeâs impacts and approved the route they saw as having the fewest impacts,â said Tom Hillstrom, project routing lead. âWe look forward to working with each agency to issue the final permits so that the line can be built and energized by 2015.â The CapX2020 HamptonâRochesterâLa Crosse 345 kV project has been identified in numerous state and regional planning studies. Experts testifying at the Commissionâs technical hearings in March agreed that a transmission deficit exists in the La Crosse area and that transmission line construction is necessary. The project will address regional deficiencies identified by the Midwest ISO, which concluded that if the project isnât constructed, substantial overloading of existing transmission in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota will occur.
Rural Utilities Service is expected to issue the federal Environmental Impact Statement, which covers the entire project, in June, with federal approval this fall. Construction is expected to start in Minnesota in early 2013 and in Wisconsin in late 2013. The HamptonâRochesterâLa Crosse project is scheduled to be energized in 2015. With the modified Galesville route, the estimated project cost in Wisconsin is $210 million, and the overall project cost is approximately $500 million.
Partners in the CapX2020 HamptonâRochesterâLa Crosse 345 kV project include Dairyland Power Cooperative, Rochester Public Utilities, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, WPPI Energy and Xcel Energy.