ATC: Transmission lines, substations once again topic of open houses

Jackie Olson


ATC seeks additional public input to refine proposed route corridors

DE PERE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is again hosting a series of public open houses to provide information and gather public comment as it works to site two new 345-kilovolt transmission lines in northeastern and north central Wisconsin.

“The comments and information we received from the more than 750 people that attended our open houses in late January and early February have been very helpful,” explains Patsy Baynard, major projects executive for ATC. “ATC has used local input, environmental and real estate data and other information to identify corridors that potentially could be used as transmission line routes. We are notifying landowners who have property in or adjacent to the corridors, as well as others who have expressed interest in the projects. We look forward to gathering additional information in this next series of open houses to help us develop proposals that minimize impacts to property owners, local communities and the environment.”

The two new 345-kilovolt lines, each about 50 miles long, are needed because the electric transmission system in the area is aging and in need of upgrading. The existing 115-kV electric transmission system in Marathon and Shawano counties is not capable of delivering power from a proposed new generator at the Weston Power Plant, which is scheduled to come on line in 2008. A 345-kV transmission line is being planned to transmit electricity from the power plant to a yet-to-be-sited substation in the Clintonville/Shawano/Belle Plaine area.

The 345kV and 138-kV systems that link northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are among the most severely constrained in the Midwest. These constraints limit ATC’s ability to deliver reliable, affordable power generated inside and outside of the region. A 50-mile 345-kV transmission line linking the Morgan Substation southwest of Oconto Falls to a new substation named Werner West in the New London area also is proposed.

The two new lines will intersect at the proposed new substation in the Clintonville/Shawano/Belle Plaine area.

Recent transmission system studies show that an additional 138kV line between Clintonville and the Werner West substation would provide additional reliability benefits.

ATC initially identified a broad study area, which has now been narrowed to proposed route corridors. Maps, aerial photography and computer-generated images of the corridors will be available at the open houses. ATC staff will be on hand to provide information about the need for the facilities, real estate issues, the siting and public involvement process, as well as environmental and regulatory reviews. The transmission lines and substations require approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and permits from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. ATC will seek additional public feedback and gather environmental data in 2004 in preparation for its regulatory filing for the projects in 2005.

ATC plans, constructs, operates, maintains and will expand its transmission facilities to provide for adequate and reliable transmission of power. It provides non-discriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. A member of the Midwest ISO regional transmission organization, ATC owns more than 8,900 miles of transmission lines with a total investment of approximately $800 million in transmission facilities in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois.