Major projects update

Reliability and Multi-Value Projects strengthen the grid within our service territory



Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center

As noted in our opening letter, this project began producing economic benefits as soon as it was placed in service in late 2013. The 5.3-mile, 345-kV line between substations in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and Zion, Ill., relieves congestion in the region and provides savings to electric utilities and their customers by enabling the most efficient generators to supply power to the energy market. It also has increased local and regional reliability by providing another interstate high-voltage connection for utilities in Illinois and Wisconsin.

We also are developing a preliminary southeast Wisconsin-northeast Illinois 345-kV transmission project to further address reliability issues at this interface. While it has not yet been identified in the specific project list, it has been considered in the capital forecast.

Mackinac HVDC Converter Station

This unique facility to help manage the flow of power across transmission lines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was placed into commercial operation in summer 2014. The station, located adjacent to the Straits Substation in St. Ignace, Mich., is one of only three facilities of its kind in the United States. The device allows MISO to control power flow in and out of the Upper Peninsula, helping to accommodate the transmission of renewable wind energy being developed in the west. The station was a quick and less-expensive solution compared to a portfolio of transmission lines studied as alternatives.

Bay Lake

The Bay Lake Project is a package of proposals to address the delicate, shifting balance between generation, load and transmission in the northern portion of our service area.

The Holmes-Old Mead Road portion of Bay Lake was approved by Michigan regulators in early 2014. It includes a single 58-mile, 138-kV line from the Holmes Substation in Menominee County to the Old Mead Road Substation in Escanaba, Mich. Construction of the $120 million project is scheduled to begin in late 2014 with an in-service date of mid-2016.

The North Appleton-Morgan project includes a 345-kV and 138-kV line from our North Appleton Substation in Outagamie County to the Morgan Substation in Oconto County, Wis. Both substations will be expanded and a new substation, Benson Lake, will be required to accommodate a large voltage-control device at the site of our Amberg Substation in Marinette County. Additional work will be required at 11 other substations. The project is currently being reviewed by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. If approved, construction would begin in 2017 with an in-service date of 2019. Cost of the project ranges from $307 million to $327 million depending on the route selected.

ATC has initiated a Northern Area Reliability Assessment effort to engage stakeholders and identify potential reinforcements due to generation uncertainties in the northern portion of the ATC system. While not yet specifically identified in the project list, the capital forecast includes consideration of preliminary alternatives that could include:

  • Plains-National project
  • Lakota-Winona conversion from 69-kV to 138-kV
  • Morgan-Crivitz project
  • Uprates or rebuilds in the Green Bay area
  • Rhinelander area upgrades

ATC is collaborating with MISO to complete this assessment in late 2014. Potential generation solutions also will be considered.

Badger Coulee

Badger Coulee, one of the 17 Multi‑Value Projects proposed by MISO in late 2011, also is being reviewed by the Wisconsin PSC. The 160- to 180-mile 345-kV line between the La Crosse and Dane County areas will deliver reliability, economic and public policy benefits. Sponsored jointly with Xcel Energy, the project will

  • Offset the need for about $160 million in lower-voltage upgrades in western Wisconsin,
  • Increase access to the wholesale energy market and could provide between $259 million and $841 million in net economic benefits over the life of the project and
  • Establish another pathway for renewable energy into Wisconsin with a connection to key load centers.
Cardinal-Hickory Creek

This project between Dane County, Wis., and Dubuque County, Iowa, is a 125-mile line that will provide benefits that exceed its cost. As a joint venture with ITC Midwest LLC, this MISO Multi-Value Project would improve local and regional reliability and deliver economic benefits by providing greater access to the wholesale market. The 345-kV line would run from the Cardinal Substation in Dane County, to the proposed Hickory Creek Substation in Dubuque County. Initial Wisconsin public outreach for routing and siting the line will begin in fall 2014.