American Transmission Co.

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News | American Transmission Co. - Part 5

Railbelt utilities seek regulatory approval to form transmission utility

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Four Railbelt utilities, Golden Valley Electric Association (“GVEA”), Anchorage Municipal Light and Power (“ML&P”), the City of Seward (“Seward”) and Homer Electric Association (“HEA”) have jointly submitted an application to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (“RCA”) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to form a transmission-only utility in Alaska’s Railbelt region. Today’s filing is the culmination of more than four years of voluntary work by the above parties working in close collaboration with Chugach Electric Association (“Chugach”) and Matanuska Electric Association (“MEA”). The work to date has included an evaluation of how the formation of an Alaska Railbelt Transmission company can provide overall benefits to consumers. The Railbelt utilities have worked closely with American Transmission Co., (ATC) a Wisconsin-based transmission-only utility formed through a similar effort in 2001 in the Midwest.

Today’s filing with the RCA establishes:

  1. the need to form a transmission-only utility;
  2. the interest of each utility participating in the formation;
  3. a tariff that describes how transmission services will be provided to each of the existing Railbelt
    utilities and other users of the system, including the allocation of costs; and
  4. the ongoing responsibilities of the Railbelt’s utilities to operate, maintain and invest in the
    transmission system.

The next step in the application process is a determination by the RCA that the application is complete, following which there is a 6-month review period prescribed for the Commission’s decision. The Railbelt utilities’ application 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. 
Media contact: Julie Harris,, 907-263-5423

Golden Valley Electric Association – GVEA is a member-owned cooperative that serves over 44,800 meters and maintains 3,260 miles of transmission and distribution lines in Interior
Alaska. Its system is interconnected with Fort Wainwright, Eielson AFB, Fort Greely, Clear AFB, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and all electric utilities in the Alaska Railbelt, which extends from Homer, Alaska to Fairbanks.
Media contact: Corinne Bradish,, 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.
Media contact: Bruce Shelley,, 907-283-2324

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.
Media contact: Brenda Ballou,, 907-224-4045

American Transmission Co. – ATC is a Wisconsin-based utility that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $4.5 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now owns and operates $4.7 billion in assets, including more than 9,600 miles of transmission lines and 554 substations. 12% of ATC’s ownership is municipal and cooperative utilities, and 88% is investor-owned utilities.
Media contact: Anne Spaltholz,, 877-506-6117

Both lanes reopened on Broadway in Madison after downed wire caused closure

MADISON, Wis. –  Crews responded to a downed wire on East Broadway near the intersection of Edna Taylor Parkway in Madison today. 

The downed wire caused the closure of both lanes of westbound traffic on East Broadway. One lane of traffic has been reopened. Repairs are expected to be completed this afternoon. 

The incident occurred after an equipment failure, which caused the wire to drop on the road.

Updated 1:28 p.m.: Both westbound and eastbound lanes of traffic have been reopened.

ATC awards $58,600 amongst 27 recipients for planting projects

Twenty-three communities to plant outside transmission line rights-of-way; four recipients will plant inside the right-of-way, benefitting pollinators

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has awarded collectively $58,600 to 27 recipients across its service area to plant trees and low-growing vegetation through two programs – the Community Planting and Pollinator Planting programs. Now in its sixth year, ATC has given more than 200 community awards for these projects totaling nearly $360,000.

Vegetation funded through the Community Planting Program requires that communities plant trees outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way. Low-growing, compatible vegetation funded through the Pollinator Planting Program allows entities to cultivate species within the rights-of-way that benefit pollinator food and habitat. Both programs help maintain electric reliability of the transmission system by keeping tall-growing vegetation outside the rights-of-way.

“As an electric utility, we’re uniquely positioned to support the declining pollinator population,” said Mark Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We established ATC’s pollinator planting initiative about two years ago, developing our own rights-of-way and substation landscaping – following construction. The Pollinator Planting Program extends that opportunity to qualified applicants within our service area because recipients can plant low-growing vegetation in the right-of-way to develop spaces for pollinators. Meanwhile we continue to provide funding to applicants who wish to plant and grow trees outside the right-of-way through our Community Planting Program.”

Recipients of both programs commit to comply with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines. Mequon Nature Preserve, Baird Creek Preservation Foundation in the town of Eaton and the cities of Stevens Point and Muskego all received funding to support pollinator planting projects. The following Wisconsin communities received amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 for planting projects on public property, outside the rights-of-way:

Antigo, Wis.Marinette, Wis.Plymouth, Wis.
Bellevue, Wis.Mequon Nature Preserve (Wis.)Port Washington, Wis.
Bristol, Wis.Outagamie County, Wis.Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Clintonville, Wis.Ozaukee County, Wis.Rib Mountain, Wis.
Green Lake Sanitary District (Wis.)Peshtigo, Wis.Rochester, Wis.
Iron Mountain, Mich.Pittsville, Wis.Waupaca, Wis.

Both the Community Planting Program and Pollinator Planting Program are part of ATC’s Grow Smart® initiative, which advocates for and provides suggestions of low-growing, compatible vegetation that can be planted in transmission line rights-of-way. ATC will accept applications again for both programs from June 1 through Sept. 30, 2019.

Badger Coulee transmission line placed in service

Line will deliver reliability, economic and renewable energy benefits

MADISON, Wis. – The Badger Coulee transmission line, which electrically connects the Dane County area with La Crosse County area, is energized and now part of an integrated electric system serving customers in the region.

The line will help ensure reliable electricity for the region and provide access to lower-cost power and renewable energy. It is part of a portfolio of projects that will help enable the delivery of 25 gigawatts of renewable energy. A 20-mile portion of the project in Dane County was placed in service in 2017.

“Xcel Energy is committed to making investments to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electricity to our customers for decades to come,” said Michael Lamb, Xcel Energy Senior Vice President, Transmission. “This new transmission line opens up additional pathways for carbon-free energy including allowing wind and solar to enter the grid.”

The project was included in a group of 17 Multi-Value Projects designated by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which oversees the electric grid in the region. These projects are expected to create $12.1 billion to $52.6 billion in net economic benefits over the next 20 to 40 years and enable 41 million megawatt hours per year of wind generation, which could meet the electric needs of approximately 4 million homes.

“We are very pleased that the Badger Coulee transmission line is now in service,” said Clean Grid Alliance Executive Director Beth Soholt. “This line is a vital link in the integrated network of MISO multi-value transmission projects. Completion of this line not only enables the delivery of thousands of megawatts of clean, low-cost wind power, it will also reduce congestion in the MISO energy market, and add to the reliability of the overall MISO grid.”

This 180-mile, 345,000-volt transmission line was approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in April 2015 and construction activities began in 2016. There was significant economic impact of jobs and worker spending in local communities during construction.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2150 Assistant Business Manager Jay Allen noted that approximately 90 percent of the 300 Badger Coulee workers from their union live in Wisconsin.

“These jobs provide excellent wages and benefits to our members,” said Allen. “A project such as Badger Coulee has a large economic impact on the local communities. A number of the workers on this project stayed in motels and ate in restaurants near the construction site of the transmission line. Other local businesses that benefited from the project include, campgrounds, department stores and hardware stores.”

“We appreciate the cooperation of area residents and the public as we worked on this project beginning with public involvement in 2010 to completing construction this year,” said American Transmission Co. Director of Environmental and Local Relations Gregory Levesque. “We will be continuing restoration work on portions of the project next year. The ATC environmental department also will continue periodic monitoring through 2023 in the right-of-way to evaluate restoration, revegetation, erosion control and invasive species in certain areas as required by state and federal permits.”

Project maps and additional information are available at


About ATC
American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested $4.5 billion to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now has $4.7 billion in assets, including more than 9,600 miles of transmission lines and 554 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 our website at

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About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. With its Wisconsin headquarters in Eau Claire, Wis. the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

ATC issues 2018 10-Year Transmission System Assessment

Plan calls for capital expenditure of $2.8 billion to $3.4 billion

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co.’s 10-year plan for electric grid improvements calls for a mix of new construction and continued asset maintenance to maintain the company’s top performance in operations.

“Our long-range planning efforts assure the reliability that our customers depend on,” said Jim Vespalec, director of asset planning and engineering. “The expenditures in the 2018 plan reflect the measures necessary to maintain and improve electric reliability.”
Specifically, the plan calls for expenditures of $1.5 billion in asset maintenance, $0.3 billion in regional Multi-Value Projects, $0.5 billion in network projects and between $0.5 billion and $1.1 billion in other capital expenditures.

“Long-term planning has always been a complex undertaking, but it was relatively consistent in the days of steady load growth and a stable generation mix,” said Ron Snead, vice president of system planning. “Today’s world is much more dynamic. We anticipate more than 30 percent of the coal-fired generation in our service territory will be retired by the end of 2019. That requires agility and flexibility in working with our customers to reliably and efficiently meet their transmission needs.”

The full plan is available for viewing at