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American Transmission Co. updates 10-Year Transmission System Assessment

Connecting to sustainable energy resources is increasing need for new, updated transmission infrastructure

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co.’s 10-year plan to address the need for electric grid improvements highlights projects that are driven by sustainable energy generation proposals along with ongoing asset maintenance for achieving the highest standards in reliability, efficiency and safety.

“Our long-term planning efforts require flexibility to support an evolving, sustainable energy future,” said Andy Dolan, vice president of system planning. “We have seen over 2,200 megawatts of fossil-fueled generation retire in our footprint since the beginning of 2018; meanwhile, we are studying proposals from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator to connect over 8,200 megawatts of solar generation and almost 1,500 megawatts of wind generation. To plan a robust transmission system, we’re analyzing the trends of this changing generation mix to best meet the needs of our owners and energy consumers.”

Specifically, the plan calls for expenditures of $1.8 billion in asset maintenance, $0.2 billion in regional Multi-Value Projects, $0.4 billion in network projects and between $0.5 billion and $1.1 billion in other capital expenditures.

“Our asset maintenance projects are driven by the need to address aging infrastructure initially installed decades ago,” said Jim Vespalec, director of asset planning and engineering. “Overall, project expenditures in the 2020 plan reflect the measures necessary to maintain and reinforce the system and upgrade its resiliency.”

The full plan is available for viewing at ATC10YearPlan.

ATC continues funding for planting and pollinator habitat projects

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Recognizing that trees and vegetation are among the features that make communities special places for residents and visitors, American Transmission Co. will continue funding for planting projects in communities in its service area through its Community Planting and Pollinator Habitat programs.

“While we can’t allow trees or tall‑growing vegetation in our rights‑of‑way, we do understand that they are an important part of the landscape,” said ATC Vegetation Management Manager Michelle Stokes. “These programs enable us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that will beautify communities in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.”

The Community Planting Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation outside the transmission line rights-of-way. ATC has awarded more than 240 communities with funds totaling over $425,000 since 2013.

The Pollinator Habitat Program provides funding for site preparation; purchasing seed, plugs or plants; labor and installation; or other activities to establish quality pollinator habitat. Unlike the Community Planting Program, the Pollinator Habitat Program promotes planting low-growing vegetation within a transmission line right-of-way.

“Part of the reason for the recent decline in pollinator populations is due to loss of habitat,” said ATC Environmental Project Manager Johanna Sievewright. “The Pollinator Habitat Program promotes vegetation that is both compatible with our vegetation management practices and it provides habitat for pollinators, which use the utility corridor as a flight path.”

To qualify for either program, applicants must commit that all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines will comply with ATC’s maintenance standards. Cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes within ATC’s service area are eligible to apply for funding through the Community Planting Program. The Pollinator Habitat Program also is open to cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes within ATC’s service area, as well as to entities that allow public access to ATC rights-of-way (e.g. nature preserves, non-profits or public land managers).

Applications for the Community Planting Program and Pollinator Habitat Program are accepted July 1 through Sept. 30, and award recipients will be selected and notified by the end of the calendar year. Awards for both programs range from $100 to $5,000. Additional information can be found at atc-GrowSmart.com.

 

PSC approves a 21-mile, 138,000-volt transmission line upgrade in Brown and Oconto counties

Bayport-Pioneer Rebuild Project expected to be in-service in 2022

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has approved an electric reliability transmission line rebuild project between the Bayport Substation in Brown County and the Pioneer Substation in Oconto County. ATC submitted its application for the Bayport-Pioneer Rebuild Project in spring 2019 and the order for the Certificate of Authority was issued on March 19, 2020.

“The existing Bayport-Pioneer transmission line infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and upgraded to better serve the electric needs in Brown and Oconto counties,” said Jim Pericolosi, ATC project manager. “The PSC’s approval to replace outdated structures and wires significantly improves the region’s electric reliability and supports the area’s economic growth, which has been increasing over the last several years.”

The project was announced in early 2018 and includes replacing the transmission structures between the Bayport and Pioneer Substations, replacing existing 69-kV wires with 138-kV wires, installing a second set of 138-kV wires, and making upgrades at the Bayport, Pioneer, Pulliam, Sobieski and Suamico substations.

The project is estimated to cost $47 million. Construction is projected to begin in late 2020, with an in-service date of 2022.

American Transmission Co. announces promotion

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has named Tom Dagenais director of corporate strategy.

In this newly created position, Dagenais leads the group responsible for developing and scaling innovative ideas, business models and new technologies to connect ATC’s customers and stakeholders to a sustainable energy future.

Since joining ATC in 2004, Dagenais has held multiple roles in the company’s System Planning Department supporting ATC’s efforts to plan, design, build and operate the electrical transmission system safely, reliably and cost-effectively. Prior to ATC he spent multiple years working in transmission system operations, first as a general engineer at the Mid-America Interconnected Network and later at the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator as a reliability coordinator.

Dagenais earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He also is licensed as a Professional Engineer in Wisconsin.

American Transmission Co. announces two promotions

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co.’s Board of Directors last week approved two promotions. Lori Lorenz was named an officer of the company, and Nate DeBaun was named corporate secretary.

Lorenz assumes the newly created position of executive vice president, chief administrative officer. Primarily focused on culture and people, she oversees human resources, safety, facilities and corporate communications. Lorenz joined ATC in 2013 as director of human resources and was promoted to vice president of human capital in 2014. Since joining ATC, she has developed and implemented several strategic initiatives that have contributed to ATC earning local and national recognition for being a great place to work. Lorenz holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She serves as a leader in several community and industry organizations including Edison Electric Institute’s Chief Human Resources Officer Executive Advisory Committee, Society for Human Resource Management, Waukesha County Business Alliance, Tempo Waukesha, Roger’s Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, Women and Girls Fund of Waukesha County Board of Trustees and University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Professional & Executive Development Advisory Board.

DeBaun serves as associate general counsel and corporate secretary for ATC. As corporate secretary, he works with the general counsel and executive team in corporate governance matters, including preparing for and carrying out ATC’s board of directors and board committee meetings. He also provides legal advice and support to ATC’s board of directors. DeBaun joined ATC’s legal department in 2011 and was promoted to lead counsel, corporate affairs and assistant corporate secretary in 2014. DeBaun earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and law, psychology and French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School. He is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin and Illinois.