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.
FORTUNE magazine-published list names the best workplaces in the country
PEWAUKEE, WIS. – American Transmission Co. was named by Great Place to Work® as one of the best workplaces in the United States on the 2015 Best Small & Medium Workplaces list, published today in FORTUNE magazine. This is the second consecutive year ATC has been named to the list.
Competing against hundreds of companies across the country, ATC participated in a rigorous selection process that included an employee survey and an in-depth questionnaire about benefits programs and company practices. Great Place to Work® evaluated each application based on five dimensions of a great workplace: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.
As ATC strives to be the nation’s premier energy delivery company, processes such as these help illustrate how ATC employees experience their workplace.
“We work hard to be a company where employees enjoy working, and it is through teamwork that we continue to achieve success,” said ATC President and CEO Mike Rowe. “Being named to the list for the second year in a row is certainly an honor, especially because our employees’ survey responses put us on the list.”
The Best Small & Medium Workplaces list is divided into two categories, small (25-250 employees) and medium (251-999 employees), and recognizes companies with exceptional workplace cultures. Great Place to Work® has found that employees believe they work for great organizations when they trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do and enjoy their coworkers.
Projects support local distribution networks and improve electric reliability
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin yesterday approved a new electric reliability transmission line project near the village of Eden. At an open meeting, the commissioners agreed on the need for the Creekview Interconnection Project and approved the north route proposed by ATC in its application filed earlier this year.
“This 138,000-volt transmission line will support the low-voltage distribution system in the region by connecting to a new We Energies substation,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC project manager.
The project was announced in spring 2014 and includes a new We Energies substation, called Creekview, located on the north side of County Highway F, east of Greenway Road, and a new, 9-mile, 138-kV transmission line to provide service to the new substation. The new transmission line will be co-located with an existing 345-kV line.
The estimated project cost is $25 million to $26 million; a more refined cost estimate will be included in the PSC’s final order for the project, which is anticipated to be issued within the month. Construction is projected to begin in fall 2016, with an in-service date of January 2018.
On Tuesday, the PSC issued an order to rebuild a 14-mile, 138-kV transmission line in southeastern Wisconsin. The St. Martins-Edgewood-Mukwonago Rebuild Project runs from the St. Martins Substation in Franklin to the Edgewood Substation in Big Bend, and continues on to the Mukwonago Substation in Mukwonago.
“The lattice tower structures on this line are approximately 90 years old and are at the end of their useful life,” said Andy Ehlert, ATC project manager. “Replacing the aging structures will help maintain the reliability of the area electric transmission system.”
One hundred fifty aging lattice structures will be replaced with 126 steel, single-pole structures, and the wires also will be replaced. No new right-of-way is needed for this project. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2017 to meet an in-service date of June 2018. The estimated cost of this project is $24.7 million.
Note to editors: A map of the projects’ routes, along with other information, is available at www.atc-projects.com.
System build out slows while maintenance, repair ramp up
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – The next 10 years call for continued investment in the American Transmission Co. electric grid, assuring continued electric reliability and increased access to economic energy for its electric distribution utility customers.
The 2015 10-Year Transmission System Assessment calls for an investment of $3.7 billion to $4.5 billion in the grid that serves eastern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and portions of Illinois and Minnesota. ATC has identified the need for $1.4 billion in network projects, $0.5 billion in regional Multi-Value Projects identified by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, $1.4 billion in asset maintenance and a range from $0.4 billion to $1.2 billion in other capital improvements.
The report, which is available online at www.atc10yearplan.com, notes that the investment made in transmission infrastructure to date has effectively and economically improved reliability while being responsive to the changing ways in which the grid is being used to realize opportunities provided by the marketplace. Reliability is best-in-class in several industry benchmarking studies of performance with other transmission operators.