Major projects update

Badger Coulee

The Badger Coulee project was one of 17 Multi‑Value Projects approved by the MISO board of directors in late 2011. The 150-mile, 345‑kV line between the La Crosse and Dane County areas will deliver benefits to Wisconsin and the Midwest region in three important ways:

Improving electric system reliability locally and regionally
  • Offsetting the need for about $180 million ($140 million in the ATC service area) in lower-voltage upgrades in western Wisconsin communities
Delivering economic savings for Wisconsin utilities and electric consumers
  • Providing increased access to the wholesale energy market and improving grid efficiency
  • Cound provide $230 to $962 million in net economic benefits over the life of the project
Expanding infrastructure for greater use of renewable energy
  • Establishes another pathway for renewable energy into Wisconsin with connection to key load centers

Public outreach on the project was initiated in 2010; preliminary route alternatives have been identified and an application is expected to be filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in 2013.

Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center

Regulators in Wisconsin and Illinois approved the Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center project earlier this year. This MVP will help relieve transmission system congestion in the region surrounding the southern tip of Lake Michigan. The project will provide savings to electric utilities and their customers by enabling the most efficient generators to supply power to the energy market, allowing utilities to buy and sell power when it is economic to do so. It also will increase electric system reliability, locally and regionally, by adding an additional high‑voltage connection between Illinois and Wisconsin. Construction of the six-mile, 345‑kV line will begin in late 2012 for an in-service date in 2013.

Cardinal Bluffs

Our third MVP proposal (formerly known as the Dubuque-Spring Green-Cardinal 345‑kV project) will provide benefits that exceed its cost. Similar to Badger Coulee, Cardinal Bluffs will improve local and regional reliability, deliver economic benefits by providing greater access to the wholesale market, and enable Iowa to bring more renewable generation to market. This 125-mile line will run from the Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton, Wis., to northern Dubuque County. Public outreach for routing and siting will begin later in 2012. Regulatory applications are scheduled to be filed in 2014 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

Bay Lake

In April 2012, we announced a package of proposals to address the delicate, shifting balance between generation, load and transmission in the northern region of our system. The Bay Lake Project, as originally proposed, includes:

  • a 345-kV line from a new substation in the Green Bay area to an expanded National Substation near Ishpeming, Mich.,
  • a 138-kV line from the new Green Bay area substation to the Morgan Substation near Oconto Falls, Wis., and
  • two 138-kV lines between the Holmes Substation in Menominee County, Mich., and the Escanaba, Mich., areas.

We requested MISO to review these projects outside the traditional MTEP process. At the time of publication, MISO has approved a portion of the proposed facilities to meet a late 2016 in-service date. For the most current information, please refer to our projects website: www.atc-projects.com.

Barnhart-Branch River

This 345‑kV line and two new substations are needed to address equipment modifications and an associated increase in generating capacity at the Point Beach Nuclear Plant in Manitowoc County, Wis. The 51-mile line would significantly improve reliability of the high-voltage grid in eastern Wisconsin and connect the new Barnhart Substation in Sheboygan County with the new Branch River Switching Station in Manitowoc County. Two route alternatives were developed with public involvement, and an application will be filed with the PSC in late 2012. If approved, the facilities would be placed in service in 2018.

Straits HVDC Flow-Control

Construction began in early 2012 on a high-voltage, direct-current flow-control device near the Straits Substation in St. Ignace, Mich., to better manage power flows into and out of the Upper Peninsula. This project will enable MISO to control the flows into and out of the U.P., helping to accommodate the transmission of renewable wind energy being developed in the resource-rich region to our west. The $130-million project is expected to go into service in 2014. Planning studies determined the flow-control device to be a less‑expensive and faster solution compared to the portfolio of transmission lines studied as alternatives.