PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Scott Herbst has joined American Transmission Co. as vice president of Information Technology. Herbst comes to ATC from PPL Corp., where he was senior director for the IT Business Solutions group. Herbst also held IT and operations positions with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and Xcel Energy. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance, both from the University of Minnesota.
Program advocates electric reliability by promoting plantings outside the right-of-way
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. recently awarded $60,000 to 39 communities in its service area to plant trees and other vegetation through its Community Planting Program, which is part of ATC’s Grow Smart ® initiative. Trees and other vegetation purchased by communities through the Community Planting Program reinforces this initiative by supporting the planting of tall-growing trees and other vegetation outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way.
“Since this program began in 2013, ATC has awarded nearly $190,000 to more than 130 communities for planting projects,” said Mark Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer. ”Trees are an important part of our environment. Tall-growing vegetation needs to be kept away from transmission lines to keep the public safe and the system reliable, and this program makes that initiative a win-win for everyone.”
To qualify, community recipients committed to complying with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines. In addition to Norway, Mich., the following Wisconsin communities received amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 for planting projects on public property where ATC facilities exist:
|Antigo||De Pere||McFarland||Stevens Point|
|Bayside||Fond du Lac||Oconto||Troy|
|Belgium||Forest County Potawatomi Community||Oregon||Turtle|
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Railbelt utilities have jointly submitted a report to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska summarizing continued progress on their voluntary efforts toward evaluating how the formation of an Alaska Railbelt Transco can provide overall benefits to the Railbelt. The Railbelt utilities continue to work with American Transmission Co., a Wisconsin-based transmission-only utility formed through a similar effort in 2001 in the Midwest.
The update to the RCA is the second this year and outlines progress made on both the economic analysis and a business plan for potentially transitioning from a network of separately operated transmission assets to an organization whereby the operation, maintenance and upgrades of this network are accomplished by an Alaska Railbelt transmission company. The analysis will continue into 2016. The concept requires approval by the governing bodies of the participating utilities.
The Railbelt utilities’ year-end transmission report can be found on the RCA website.
Anchorage Municipal Light & Power – ML&P provides electric utility service to commercial, university and medical customers in the downtown and midtown business districts as well as industrial loads in the Ship Creek and port areas. In addition, it serves residential customers in some of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods in its roughly 20-square-mile area. ML&P powers Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and sells electricity to other Railbelt utilities. www.mlandp.com
Media contact: Julie Harris, HarrisJA@muni.org, 907-263-5423
Chugach Electric Association, Inc. – Chugach provides power to Railbelt Alaskans through retail, wholesale and economy energy sales. Chugach operates 2,238 miles of energized line, including 539 miles of transmission lines. www.chugachelectric.com
Media contact: Phil Steyer, email@example.com, 907-762-4766
Golden Valley Electric Association – GVEA operates and maintains 3,202 miles of transmission and distribution lines and 34 substations in Interior Alaska. Its system is interconnected with Fort Wainwright, Eielson AFB, Fort Greely, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and all electric utilities in the Alaska Railbelt, which extends from Homer, Alaska to Fairbanks. Peak load in 2014 was 201.6 megawatts. System peak of 223 MW was set in December 2007. www.gvea.com
Media contact: Corinne Bradish, firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-451-5676
Homer Electric Association, Inc. – HEA is a member-owned electric cooperative that serves the western Kenai Peninsula. The cooperative has over 33,000 meters on its system and maintains 2,407 miles of energized lines. HEA owns and operates three generation plants on the Kenai Peninsula and its transmission services provide all Railbelt utilities access to low-cost energy. www.homerelectric.com
Media contact: Joe Gallagher, email@example.com, 907-283-2324
Matanuska Electric Association – MEA is a member-owned cooperative that serves the Matanuska/Susitna and Eagle River/Chugiak areas. MEA serves over 61,000 meters through more than 4,200 miles of power lines. It was formed in 1941 and is Alaska’s oldest and second-largest electric co-op. www.mea.coop
Media contact: Julie Estey, firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-761-9215
City of Seward Electric System – City of Seward runs its own electric utility and purchases power from Chugach Electric Association and has backup generation capabilities. www.cityofseward.us
Media contact: Johanna Kinney, email@example.com, 907-224-4045
Line to be built in Outagamie, Brown, Shawano and Oconto counties
DE PERE, Wis. – A helicopter will be used to capture engineering design information and other data as American Transmission Co. continues to develop two new transmission lines to serve northeastern Wisconsin.
“We are making good progress in preparing for the start of construction on the North Appleton to Morgan project,” said Cliff Van Den Elzen, project manager for ATC. “Flying the route for the 138,000-volt and 345,000-volt lines will provide us with the information we need to safely and sensitively design the transmission facilities.”
The low-flying helicopter, piloted by Brainerd Helicopter Service, will take off about 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30, from the North Appleton Substation in Outagamie County and fly the 45-mile route to the Morgan Substation in Oconto County. Flying the route is dependent on good weather.
The North Appleton-Morgan transmission lines are part of the Bay Lake Project, a collection of facilities designed to reinforce the electrical grid in northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The $327-million project was approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in May 2015. Construction will begin in 2016 to meet an anticipated in-service date of 2019.
More information about the project, including a map of the transmission line route, is available at atc-projects.com.
ATC trying new technology as an option for transmission line inspections
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – A drone will be used next week to inspect portions of two 69,000-volt transmission lines near the Town of Beaver and continuing south to Green Bay.
American Transmission Co. has contracted with HAZON Solutions, LLC to conduct a pilot program to evaluate using drones to inspect transmission lines on its system. The drone used by HAZON is approximately 25 pounds, 2.5 feet in diameter, has eight rotors and is equipped with a high-resolution camera.
“We’re evaluating this new technology as a potential alternative to some inspections currently being performed from helicopters or by ground crews,” said Duane Schoon, ATC manager of asset maintenance and commissioning. “Drones can be especially useful when inspecting transmission lines in difficult-to-reach areas, such as near buildings, roads or recreational trails.”
Drones are increasingly being used by utilities across the nation for inspection purposes. If the pilot program is successful, ATC will evaluate using drone technology in other parts of its service area.
Inspection of the transmission system is important to help ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine inspections of its 9,530 miles of transmission lines and 530 substations.
The inspection is scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26 through 30, but is weather dependent.
A video of similar drone inspection work is available on our YouTube channel.