Energizing Your Future

News | ATC - Part 30

Pleasant Prairie-Zion Energy Center transmission line placed in service

Multi-Value Project delivers economic benefits, establishes another important high-voltage interstate connection

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. Friday energized a newly constructed 345-kilovolt electric transmission line that establishes another important high-voltage interstate connection between Wisconsin and Illinois. The approximately 5-mile line runs from the Pleasant Prairie Substation in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., to the Zion Energy Center Substation in Zion, Ill. The new line will improve operation of the electric system in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois.

“The new power line relieves congestion on the existing interstate transmission system, and will provide savings to electric utilities and their customers by creating a reliable pathway to move electricity from the most efficient generators to energy markets,” said ATC Major Projects Planning Manager Tom Dagenais.  

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator designated the project as one of 17 Multi-Value Projects across the Midwest that deliver significant economic benefits. This is the first of three ATC projects designated by MISO as Multi-Value Projects to be placed into service. MISO recognized the economic benefits of large capacity regional transmission lines when it introduced a portfolio of 17 projects whose costs would be shared among utilities and their customers across the entire MISO service territory. MISO estimates that the average utility customer in the region will see $23 in annual benefits from lowered delivered energy costs for about $11 a year in investment.

ATC received approval in April 2012 from the Illinois Commerce Commission and May 2012 from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to build the transmission line, and construction on the project began late last year.

Note to editors: A map and additional project information is available at Information about MISO Multi-Value Projects is available at

ATC and Xcel Energy file state regulatory application to build Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project

Line would extend from north of La Crosse area to northern Dane County

MADISON, Wis. – Following years of analysis and community involvement, American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy today filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin seeking approval to build an approximately 160- to 180-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line from the La Crosse area to northern Dane County.

The Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project has been designated a Multi-Value Project by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator because it will enable the delivery of energy in support of reliability, economic and public policy benefits. Studies indicate that the project will offset the need for about $160 million in lower voltage upgrades in western Wisconsin, provide increased access to the wholesale energy market and could provide $259 million to $841 million in net economic benefits over the life of the project. The project also would establish another pathway for renewable energy into Wisconsin with a connection to key load centers. 

The PSC requires ATC and Xcel Energy to propose two route options for the transmission line. More than 90 percent of the approximately 182-mile northern route uses existing utility and Interstate or U.S. Highway corridors, and about 60 percent of the approximately 159-mile southern route uses shared corridors. Both route options have the same end points: Xcel Energy’s new Briggs Road Substation near Holmen and ATC’s North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna, continuing to ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. If the project is approved, the PSC will select the final route. The estimated cost is $514 million to $552 million, depending on the route.

“We appreciate the public’s active involvement over the past several years in helping us evaluate possible routes,” said ATC Environmental and Local Relations Manager Greg Levesque.  “We’ve looked at hundreds of paths for these lines and made adjustments based on what we learned from area landowners, businesses, community organizations and local officials.”

“The regulatory review process should take 12 to 18 months,” said Xcel Energy Project Manager David Rockwell. “During that time, the PSC will provide opportunities for the public and other stakeholders to get involved.”

If the project is approved, construction of the project would begin in 2016 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

Note to editors: A map of the final route options and additional project information are available at

ATC and Xcel Energy’s application with the PSC can be found by visiting and entering Docket No. 5-CE-142 (current docket number) or 137-CE-160 (previous docket number).


About ATC
ATC is a Wisconsin-based utility that owns, operates, builds and maintains the high-voltage electric transmission system serving portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $2.8 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now is a $3.3 billion company with 9,480 miles of transmission lines and 529 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with retail operations in eight Western and Midwestern states, including Wisconsin. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis, and Wisconsin-Michigan operating company headquarters are located in Eau Claire, Wis. For more information about Xcel Energy visit

ATC files application with Michigan Public Service Commission

Company seeks approval for 138-kV line in Menominee and Delta counties

DE PERE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. is asking Michigan regulators to approve a new 138-kV transmission line to improve reliability. 

The 60-mile line between the Holmes Substation in Menominee County and the Old Mead Road Substation near the NewPage mill in Escanaba is needed because of unique conditions of the electricity supply system in the area. “The transmission system is only marginally balanced,” said Brett French, ATC external relations manager. “Changes in demand or generation can significantly impact the reliability of the transmission system, creating difficulties when performing maintenance or managing unplanned outages. The project will greatly improve reliability of service to customers in the area.” 

ATC has developed a proposed and alternate route for the new line. The proposed route makes maximum use of co-location opportunities, placing the new facilities on existing transmission line or other rights-of-way. The western half of the proposed route would share a corridor with an existing transmission line; the eastern half would share an abandoned railroad corridor currently owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. In exchange for sharing the corridor, ATC proposes to develop a 10-foot-wide multi-purpose recreational trail between Hermansville and Wells Township. 

The alternate route also follows established corridors, generally following an active railroad and U.S. Highway 2. 

Estimated cost of the project is between $105 million and $132 million. A more-refined estimate will be determined as detailed design of the line continues and a final route is selected.

“Filing the application moves the project into the approval process,” French said. “The Michigan Public Service Commission has one year to approve or deny the project. If approved, the PSC selects the route. It is very important for those interested in the project to participate in the commission’s process.”

To access the application and follow the regulatory review, visit the MPSC website and search for Case # U-17272.

American Transmission Co. releases annual 10-year plan

Regional planning demonstrates economic value of grid improvements

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Noting that evolving energy markets and increased use of renewable energy are driving the need for electrical grid improvements, American Transmission Co. has announced plans to assure continued reliability in its recent 10-Year Transmission System Assessment.

“Future projects will address economic and public policy benefits, along with local and regional reliability,” said John Flynn, ATC’s executive vice president of strategic planning and project development. “Our 10-year plan calls for $3 billion to $3.6 billion in transmission system improvements.”

The expenditures include $1.2 billion in improvements and additions to the transmission network, $1.1 billion in maintenance and $0.5 billion in regional projects, the costs of which will be shared across the Upper Midwest. Other capital projects will range from $0.2 billion to $0.8 billion.

The report also notes that as regional planning efforts evolve and become more sophisticated, the economic benefits of transmission improvements become more evident. Easing congestion and providing access to sources of lower cost energy will help keep electricity prices in check. ATC estimates that, over the past three years, 99 percent of the cost of its transmission projects will be offset by savings in energy prices over the life of the projects.

The 10-Year Assessment, available online at, lists more than 70 projects across the ATC service area.

ATC to rebuild transmission line in southeast Wisconsin, four-county region

Original line built in late 1940s       

Pewaukee, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to reconstruct an existing 53-mile, 138-kV transmission line through a four-county region in southeast Wisconsin. This rebuild will occur between the Waukesha Substation in the City of Waukesha, through Jefferson and Dodge Counties to the St. Lawrence Substation in the Village of Slinger in Washington County.

Known as the Quad County Reliability Project, this project will help maintain reliability of the electric transmission system. The existing transmission line was originally built in the late 1940s and this rebuild will allow the system to meet current and future electricity loads.

Work on the project includes replacing approximately 423 structures along the entire route. New electricity-carrying wires and fiber optic wires will be installed on 35 miles of the line; the remaining portions of the line will carry the existing conductors, which will be transferred from the old structures to the new ones. In some areas, new structures have already been replaced as part of a separate project needed to achieve required safety clearances between the wires and the ground.

Construction is expected to begin in fall 2014. The estimated cost of the project is $59 million and the targeted in-service date is 2017. Landowners along the right-of-way have been informed of the project and will continue to be kept apprised as the project proceeds. No new right-of-way is needed for this project, but ATC will work with landowners to access the right-of-way through their property if necessary.

 Additional information is available at