WED AM News: Advocates touting approach to building transmission lines alongside broadband and EV charging; University of Wisconsin Hospitals ranked as best in state

— Advocates are touting an approach to building energy transmission lines that incorporates broadband and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

“The concept is, as we build out the transmission infrastructure, to coordinate the planning of that build to couple transmission together with broadband and EV charging — and doing it all within highway right-of-ways,” NextGen Highways’ Randy Satterfield said yesterday during a Wisconsin Technology Council event in Madison. 

This organization includes members of the Minnesota-based Great Plains Institute, a transportation nonprofit in Georgia called The Ray and several independent consultants working to advance this approach, Satterfield explained. Funding for the group’s efforts has come from renewable energy groups such as the Energy Foundation and the McKnight Foundation as well as Breakthrough Energy. 

Satterfield said participating groups are “deeply interested in advancing a clean energy economy” and furthering efforts toward decarbonization. He noted the Midwest’s regional transmission regulator, called MISO, yesterday approved over $10 billion in new transmission projects that will help connect new clean energy projects. 

“From our viewpoint, some of those very well may be right for this idea,” he said. 

According to an overview from the Tech Council, Wisconsin is one of only several states that allow high-voltage direct current transmission lines and communications fiber to be buried under certain highway rights-of-way. 

Greg Levesque, vice president of external affairs and communications for American Transmission Co., said many generation projects in the MISO queue are solar installations. Unlike traditional generation such as coal and gas that are generally near water sources such as lakes or rivers, solar can be “much more dispersed” and built in rural areas. 

“Using highways is certainly part of the equation, but when you are in those rural areas, you are going to have to find your way through some less developed areas,” he said. “Where the highways really help is as you’re moving those renewable resources over large areas.” 

Satterfield added that “Wisconsin has become a land rich for renewable energy development,” with upwards of $7 billion in clean energy development planned in the state over the next decade. 

“That’s not because the sun shines brighter here than it does in other parts of the country, that’s because of the work that Greg and his team have done building up the transmission system,” he said. 

Dan Ebert, principal of The Ebert Group and former chairman of the state’s Public Service Commission, said Wisconsin was one of the first states to start considering using highway rights-of-way in this manner. 

“What I’m really excited about, and what NextGen puts on the table, is to really start thinking about these investments not just with one goal in mind — you know, moving electrons — but really thinking about the EV infrastructure and broadband and really ultimately tying all three of those together,” he said. 

Watch the full discussion here:

— U.S. News & World Report has released its ranking of the top eight hospitals in Wisconsin, placing University of Wisconsin Hospitals in the top spot. 

This is the 11th year in a row that University Hospital and UW Health East Madison Hospital have been ranked best in the state on the organization’s Best Hospitals List, according to a release from UW Health. 

“These rankings show UW Health continues to be the premier health system to care for all of our patients’ diverse and complex needs,” Dr. Peter Newcomer, UW Health chief clinical officer, said in a statement. 

U.S. News & World Report included more than 5,000 hospitals in its analysis, which has rankings for each state and the country overall. 

In order, these are the other hospitals ranked best in the state: Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin; Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center; Aurora Medical Center-Grafton; Mayo Clinic Eau Claire; SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Madison; Aspirus Wausau Hospital; and Aurora Medical Center-Summit. The final two on the list were tied for seventh place. 

See the UW Health release: 

See the full state rankings: 

— An associate professor of chemistry at Marquette University is getting a $1.8 million federal award for research related to new drug synthesis. 

Dr. Joseph Clark’s research focuses on the creation of “deuterated” small molecules. Deuterium is a heavier form of hydrogen that can be added to a drug molecule to change how it functions, according to a release from Marquette University. The university says this modification “can lead to safer drug candidates with improved metabolic properties” without reducing their effectiveness. 

The five-year federal funding comes from the National Institutes of Health’s Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award, the release shows. 

Clark says existing methods for incorporating deuterium into molecular structures are “significantly underdeveloped.” 

“We are launching a holistic research program to not only develop highly selective reactions for deuterium incorporation but pioneer the expansion of analytical techniques required to support the development and use of these reactions among the broader scientific community,” he said in the release. 

See the release: 

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— The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is now accepting registrations for the agency’s first economic summit, being held in September in Appleton. 

The Wisconsin Economic Summit will be held Sept. 20-21 at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center. The two-day event will feature reports on the state’s economy, perspectives from business leaders in Wisconsin and guest speakers on various topics. 

See the release: 

See more details and register here: 


# Mayfair’s former Boston Store has been sold to Wauwatosa for nearly $4 million. City officials are looking for new uses for the site.

# UWM launches business innovation incubator for local startups

# Producers push for dairy revitalization plan in Washington D.C.



– Bank First, of Manitowoc, has announced plans to acquire Fond du Lac-based Hometown Bank

– After strong second quarter, Associated Bank ups loan targets


– 18 Wisconsin municipalities getting nearly $17M in grants for infrastructure



– Fiserv: Q2 Earnings Snapshot


– UW shares $6 million concept to dramatically reimagine Library Mall

– Holmen Area Community Center receives $60,000 grant from Foundation


– Fiserv top analysts’ consensus in second quarter


– New COVID-19 drive-thru testing site open

– Area hospitals rated high performing by U.S. News and World Report


– Peshtigo hardwood flooring manufacturer shutting down July 31


– Candidates Kleefisch, Michels, Ramthun talk business issues in Republican primary debate


– A $4 million city loan to create a hotel and conference center on Milwaukee’s north side could be facing default

– Mayor calls Boston Store purchase a ‘defensive’ move intended to protect Mayfair


– Gun buyback program to swap gift cards for firearms Aug. 13


– First Kohl’s in downtown Milwaukee, could Target be next?


– Madison’s largest craft brewing company, Ale Asylum, has shut its doors after 16 years

– Give your mind a “Creative Flex” at new painting studio open in Downtown Racine


– Packers President Mark Murphy tells shareholders that NFL draft ‘likely’ for Green Bay

– American Family Field’s first basketball games set for Nov. 11

– Bold, aggressive Big Ten leaves door open for more expansion


– This Wisconsin city was again ranked as ‘best place to live’


– State announces plans for Burlington bypass improvements this summer and fall


– MGE customers: Don’t fall for scams, utility says


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