Controversial $580M power line put into service in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A high-voltage power line across western Wisconsin has been put into service after almost three years of construction.
The 180-mile, $580 million Badger Coulee line went into service Wednesday, the Wisconsin State Journal reported . It’s a joint venture of American Transmission Co. and utilities including Xcel Energy and Dairyland Power Cooperative.
Supporters said the line running from Holmen to Middleton will enable clean and cost-effective wind energy from Minnesota and Iowa to reach big cities where there’s demand.
Opponents consider it an unnecessary expenditure that secures profits for the owners while discouraging conservation and local renewable energy investments.
Wisconsin ratepayers will cover about $87 million of the costs.
The La Crosse County municipality of Holland last year challenged the Public Service Commission’s decisions to authorize construction and to put the line on separate poles the other side of the highway from another recently-built transmission line.
The state Court of Appeals ultimately ruled in favor of the PSC.
Badger-Coulee is one of 17 projects approved by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the business in charge of running the Midwestern electric grid.
The last of those projects, a line between Dubuque and Madison known as Cardinal-Hickory Creek, is currently under review by state and federal agencies. The project has generated strong opposition from conservation groups as well as counties and municipalities in the planned path.
Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj