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News | American Transmission Co. - Part 5

ATC, ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative receive Wisconsin regulatory approval for Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project

Wisconsin PSC verbally approves project at open meeting, final order to be issued by Sept. 30.

MADISON, Wis. – Following years of public involvement and regulatory review, American Transmission Co., ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative have received approval for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

At its open meeting on Aug. 20, the three PSC commissioners verbally approved issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and selected the route for the Wisconsin portion of the project. Additional regulatory approvals are required from the Iowa Utilities Board for the Iowa segment of the project, as well as federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for permission for the line to cross the Mississippi River.

The approximately 100-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line is designed to electrically connect the Dubuque County, Iowa region to the Dane County, Wis. region. The project also includes construction of a new substation in Montfort, Wis.

The Wisconsin regulatory review process required the co-applicants to propose two route options for the project. During the open meeting, the PSC commissioners selected the Applicants’ preferred route with some minor variations. The commissioners also determined the conditions the co-applicants must meet to construct the project. The written order containing these conditions for the project is expected to be issued by Sept. 30.

“We are pleased that the PSC has recognized the need for and benefits of this project.” said ITC Midwest Project Manager Aaron Curtis. “This project will help ensure electric reliability and provide access to lower-cost power and renewable energy for all electric users in the region.”

“Dairyland’s cooperative members—and energy users across the region—depend on a reliable, safe transmission system,” said Ben Porath, Dairyland Vice President, Power Delivery. “The Cardinal-Hickory Creek line will help satisfy that essential need in a changing energy environment, while supporting renewable resources and delivering substantial benefits to Wisconsin in excess of the costs of the line.”

About 95 percent of the approximately 100-mile route that was selected uses existing utility and Interstate or U.S. Highway corridors. The end points for the new transmission line are ITC Midwest’s Hickory Creek Substation in Dubuque County, Iowa and ATC’s Cardinal Substation in the town of Middleton, Wis. The estimated cost is $492 million.

As one of 17 Multi-Value Projects approved by the region’s Midcontinent Independent System Operator in 2011, the cost and benefits of Cardinal-Hickory Creek are distributed throughout the multi-state northern MISO region. Approximately $66 to $72 million of the project’s costs will be allocated to Wisconsin ratepayers.

“Since we introduced this project in 2014, there has been a tremendous amount of public involvement. We sincerely appreciate the public’s constructive input prior to filing the project application, and during the state regulatory process,” said ATC Director of Environmental and Local Relations Greg Levesque. “We are pleased that in addition to the reliability and economic benefits, the PSC has also recognized the importance of this project as a way to support the changing energy mix in Wisconsin and across the Upper Midwest.”

ATC, ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative will begin contacting Wisconsin property owners along the route beginning this fall. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 to meet an in-service date of 2023 if final approval is granted by the IUB and federal agencies.

Note to editors:

A map of the proposed route options and additional project information are available at

ATC, ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power’s application and documents associated with the regulatory review process are available at under Docket No. 5-CE-146.


About ATC
Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates 9,860 miles of electric transmission lines and 568 substations in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Our transmission network enables the movement of electricity produced from all forms of generation resources to areas where it is needed – helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong. Visit our website at

About ITC Midwest
ITC Midwest LLC is a subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent electricity transmission company in the U.S. ITC Midwest operates more than 6,800 circuit miles of transmission lines in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri, and holds utility status in Wisconsin. ITC Midwest is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and maintains regional operating facilities in Dubuque, Iowa City and Perry, Iowa; and Albert Lea and Lakefield, Minnesota.  For further information visit ITC is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. For further information visit

About Dairyland Power

Dairyland Power Cooperative, with headquarters in La Crosse, Wis., provides wholesale electricity to 24-member distribution cooperatives and 17 municipal utilities. A Touchstone Energy Cooperative, Dairyland’s service area encompasses 62 counties in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. For more information, please visit


Media contacts:

ATC: Alissa Braatz



ITC Midwest: Rod Pritchard


Dairyland Power Cooperative: Katie Thomson, 608-787-1323, or Deb Mirasola, 608-787-1378,

Madison substation cleanup and cause investigation underway

Last updated July 22, 2019 at 4:40 p.m.

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Around 7:30 a.m. on Friday, July 19, an explosion and fire at the joint ATC/Madison Gas & Electric Blount Street Substation and East Campus Substation in Madison caused an ATC 69-kV/138-kV transformer to fail. The specific cause of the fires are not yet known.

By 8:50 a.m. on July 19, the fires at Blount Street and East Campus substations in Madison were contained, and no injuries were reported. We also worked with MGE to restore power to the Madison area as quickly and safely as possible.

Following the fire at the Blount Street Substation in Madison on Friday, the Department of Natural Resources has been on site coordinating with ATC and our environmental contractors during cleanup activities. The impact of the fire was largely contained within the substation. Over the weekend, the remaining insulating fluid from the damaged transformer was removed, and some fluid was recovered from outside the substation. Overall cleanup within the substation continues. The second fire at the East Campus Substation resulted in minor damage.

An ATC project team has been formed to determine the condition of the damaged substation equipment, make necessary repairs and investigate the cause. Members of the team are on site today. As previously communicated, ATC believes the fire is related to an electrical failure. We do not believe it was related to outdoor temperatures, which were around 80 degrees at the time of the fire early Friday morning.

ATC conducts routine inspections and maintenance on all of our equipment. Inspections were performed in the Blount Street Substation on Tuesday and Wednesday last week. As part of those inspections, we identified one component within the substation that we felt required additional review, and we made plans to analyze further this week. That component is part of our investigation. We do not want to draw any conclusions until we review all possibilities. Our goal is to determine the cause with reasonable certainty before the end of the month.

As reported Friday afternoon, other transmission infrastructure in the greater Madison area is sufficient to accommodate electric load while repairs are being made at the Blount Street Substation.

ATC thanks Madison’s Fire and Police departments for the quick response to maintain public safety. We also thank officials from the city of Madison and the community for their patience as we worked with Madison Gas & Electric to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

We will continue to provide information to the media via news releases, Twitter, and our website. We ask the media to continue to work with us to provide the most accurate information to the public.

ATC continues funding for planting and pollinator habitat projects

Programs help beautify communities and promote pollinator habitat 

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 200 communities with funds totaling nearly $360,000 since it launched the program in 2013.

Launched last year, 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, communities 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).

ATC will accept applications from July 1 through Sept. 30, and award recipients will be selected and notified by the end of the year. Awards for both programs range from $100 to $5,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at

ATC to begin soil boring testing in Straits of Mackinac for upcoming cable replacement project

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers issued permit; work will include shoreline and submarine soil borings

PEWAUKEE, Wis. — American Transmission Co. will begin soil boring testing the week of May 13 in preparation for the planned replacement of ATC’s 138,000-volt submarine electric cables crossing the Straits of Mackinac that were damaged last year when an anchor struck them. The soil borings will begin along the Upper and Lower Michigan shorelines, near the McGulpin and Point La Barbe Riser Stations, and will continue along the lakebed of the Straits through June. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in mid-March issued a permit authorizing the work.

“Our goal is to fully assess the soil where we anticipate the new cables will be located, while minimizing shoreline and lakebed disturbance,” said ATC Project Manager Dustin Johanek.

Following the soil boring work, ATC will apply for additional regulatory and environmental permits from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Michigan’s EGLE by the end of 2019. Beginning in the second quarter of 2021, ATC plans to remove the existing submarine cables and replace them with cables containing solid dielectric insulation to re-establish the two, approximately 4-mile, 138-kv circuits in the Straits. The in-service date is anticipated to be December 2021. ATC continues to work with tribal nations, regulators and nearby landowners to gather input on the cable replacement project.

Note to editors: In its December 2018 Transmission Expansion Plan, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator recommended the replacement of ATC’s two electric circuits in the Straits as soon as practical to ensure the continued reliable service to the Upper Peninsula. More information about ATC’s Straits Cable Replacement Project can be found on the project page. Details regarding the April 2018 anchor strike to ATC’s cables and the subsequent restoration can be found here.

Electric transmission line connecting West Riverside Energy Center to the grid placed in service

Line is part of an integrated electric system serving customers in the region

Madison, Wis. – American Transmission Co. recently energized the approximately 4.2-mile, 345,000-volt Riverside transmission line. Project work included building a new substation near the Alliant Energy West Riverside Energy Center and connecting a new double-circuit transmission line to an existing 345-kV transmission line in the Town of Beloit.

The line is needed to connect the expanded West Riverside Energy Center to the electric transmission grid. The West Riverside Energy Center will include a natural gas-fueled generating station with an integrated solar installation. The estimated cost of the transmission line project is $42 million.

“We’d like to thank members of the public and residents for their cooperation as we worked to construct the transmission line and substation,” said ATC Project Manager Mark Sanzenbacher. “Crews are expected to complete restoration activities in the area this spring.”

Additional project information is available at