American Transmission Co.

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What's Current | American Transmission Co. - Part 3

American Transmission Co. announces new board member and treasurer

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. today announced that Scott J. Lauber, president and chief executive officer of WEC Energy Group, has joined ATC’s board of directors, replacing J. Kevin Fletcher who retired from WEC Energy Group on June 1, 2022. Eric Lundberg, ATC’s vice president of finance, was named the company’s treasurer, a title previously held by Mike Hofbauer, ATC’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Lauber was named president and CEO of WEC Energy Group and appointed to the company’s board of directors in February 2022. He became president — We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Michigan Gas Utilities and Minnesota Energy Resources in January 2022, and president — Upper Michigan Energy Resources in February 2022. In the president roles, Lauber is responsible for business operations for WEC Energy Group’s utilities in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Lauber joined Wisconsin Energy Corp. in 1990 and has held positions of increasing responsibility, including financial manager — distribution operations, and manager — corporate accounting and budgeting.

Lundberg serves as vice president, finance and treasurer at ATC. Lundberg joined ATC in 2013 and has served as an executive within the accounting and finance departments since 2017. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Houghton College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Transformer installed for Darien and Paris Solar Network Upgrade Project

Construction of the Darien and Paris Solar Network Upgrade Project is advancing in Kenosha County. The project will support the proposed Darien Solar Energy Center in Rock and Walworth counties and the Paris Solar-Battery Park in Kenosha County.

Recently, the new 345,000-volt/138,000-volt transformer was delivered and installed. Using the transformer to connect two adjacent transmission lines of different voltages will allow for increased power transfers without the need to build additional transmission lines.

The transformer traveled over 825 miles from the rail yard at the Hyundai factory in Montgomery, Ala., to the Canadian Pacific rail yard in Sturtevant, Wis. An eight-person Van Dyke Bros Inc. crew from Chandler, Minn., spent most of June 8 carefully transferring the transformer to a specially equipped semitruck trailer.

After a Wisconsin Department of Transportation safety inspection on June 9, the transformer traveled the seven miles from the rail yard to the Paris Substation near Union Grove, Wis. The accompanying convoy included several Wisconsin State Troopers and their vehicles, Van Dyke’s remaining six semi-trailers and two bucket trucks that lifted distribution and cable lines crossing the roads out of the way to allow the transformer to pass underneath.

On June 10, the Van Dyke crew used large hydraulic lifts to remove the 200-ton transformer from the trailer so it could slide onto the concrete platform that is its permanent home. Their eight-person crew moves 30-40 transformers annually throughout the United States.

“There is no room for error when placing a transformer,” said ATC Senior Construction Manager Jim Huckstorf. “It needs to be placed as close to the middle of the concrete platform as possible. It’s a long, slow and careful process.”

To slide the transformer onto the concrete pad, the crew laid down special steel rails, using wood cribbing and steel plates to continually adjust the steel rail height and support the transformer as it moves. The crew continually measured and used a level throughout the process.

Once the steel rails were in place, a power pack generator slowly pushed the transformer across the steel rails into position. When the transformer was in the right position, four hydraulic lifts were set under each of the transformer’s corners and lifted the transformer off the concrete pad about a foot. The crew then removed the steel rails and wood cribbing before lowering the transformer into place. The hydraulic lifts also helped the crew make any minor adjustments to the transformer’s position on the concrete pad.

After the transformer was put in place, Hyundai’s assembly crew began installing the 24 radiators, reservoir tank and pipes. Before it can be operational, the transformer will be filled with 19,400 gallons (about the volume of a one car garage) of dielectric oil and tested. Once assembled and filled, the transformer will stand nearly 28 feet tall and weigh over 300 tons (about what a Boeing 747 weighs).

The control house is scheduled to be delivered mid-July and the project is expected to be in service in December. The 310MW Paris Solar-Battery Park is expected to be complete by the end of 2023. We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service and Madison Gas and Electric have also filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to acquire the 325MW Darien Solar Energy Center. WEC Energy Group utilities We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service would own 90 percent of the two renewable energy projects. Madison Gas and Electric would own the other 10 percent.

ATC, Milwaukee Bucks team up to donate record 579 trees through Trees for Threes program

American Transmission Co. donated 579 trees – equal to the number of three-point shots the Milwaukee Bucks made at Fiserv Forum during the 2021-22 regular season – to 180 Wisconsin schools that registered for the 2021-22 Trees for Threes program. The program calls for ATC to donate one tree for every three-pointer the Bucks make at home during the regular season.

To celebrate the culmination of the sixth year of the Trees for Threes program, ATC and the Bucks held a tree planting ceremony at Milwaukee Academy of Science on May 31. Second-grade students from Milwaukee Academy of Science planted three trees the school received from the program. Bucks Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Arvind Gopalratnam, ATC Vice President of External Affairs and Communications Greg Levesque, and Milwaukee Academy of Science Chief Executive Officer Anthony McHenry also made remarks.

“Congratulations to the Bucks on a record-breaking season of three-pointers,” said Levesque. “Our partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Trees for Threes program continues to be a win for local schools and the environment. ATC supports initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment, education and health and well-being to help strengthen the communities in our service area. Planting trees at schools aligns well with these initiatives and can be a valuable lesson for students.”

The Bucks’ 579 threes made at Fiserv Forum this season marked a new franchise record for three-pointers made in a season at home. Milwaukee’s 579 threes made at home were also the most by any team in the Eastern Conference. The 579 trees were donated to a total of 180 schools in 42 counties across Wisconsin. In six seasons of the Trees for Threes initiative, the Bucks and ATC have teamed up to donate more than 2,900 trees to help make Wisconsin greener.

ATC accepting applications for community planting and pollinator habitat programs

Now through Sept. 30, 2022, American Transmission Co. is accepting applications for planting projects in communities in our service area through the annual Community Planting and Pollinator Habitat grant programs. Since 2013, ATC has awarded nearly 290 grants for these projects totaling more than $560,000.

“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,” said Michelle Stokes, manager of vegetation management and transmission line maintenance at ATC. “While we can’t allow trees or tall-growing vegetation in our rights-of-way, we understand that they are an important part of the landscape.”

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. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation outside the transmission line rights-of-way.

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.

“Loss of habitat is one of the main reasons for the recent decline in pollinator populations,” said Johanna Sievewright, environmental project manager at ATC. “The Pollinator Habitat Program promotes vegetation that is both compatible with our vegetation management practices and it provides habitat for bees, birds, butterflies and pollinators who 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-profit organizations, or public land managers).

Applications for the Community Planting Program and Pollinator Habitat Program will be accepted 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 and online program applications can be found at atc-GrowSmart.com.

Grow Smart at the library during national pollinator month

ATC offers pollinator education/youth STEM activities to over 500 libraries in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

PEWAUKEE – American Transmission Co. wants K-12 students to Grow Smart this summer. The company — in partnership with national gardening expert and author Melinda Myers, the Wisconsin Public Library System and the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation — is offering free pollinator education and STEM activities for K-12 youth and their families, along with live gardening webinars for adults during June 2022, which is National Pollinator Month.

The programming was made available to over 480 Wisconsin libraries and over 40 libraries in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. June is National Pollinator Month. The libraries can support the Grow Smart program with their own ideas, book lists and other activities.

 Grow Smart for pollinators

Nearly all of the world’s seed plants need pollinators — animals that cause a plant to make fruits or seeds by moving pollen from one part of a plant to another part to fertilize it. Visits from bees, beetles, birds, butterflies and other pollinators result in larger, more flavorful fruits and higher crop yields.

But pollinator populations are decreasing, mainly due to loss of habitat. Grow Smart and add native, pollinator-friendly plants to your yard to aid in their survival. Adding native plants doesn’t require a lot of space or even a lot of effort. Join us at your local library during June to learn more.

Youth videos and activities

ATC and Melinda Myers created three videos and accompanying STEM-based activities for K-12 students that are available through local libraries or at www.atc-GrowSmart.com/library.

  • Making and caring for a bee home
  • Native sunflower project
  • Growing a pollinator garden in a container

Also available on the website are additional youth gardening videos and a young gardener’s journal.

Live webinars for adults

Adults can register for three live webinars hosted by Melinda Myers who want to learn more about how to incorporate pollinators into their gardens and landscaping.

  • June 1, 2022, 6:30 p.m. – Creating a pollinator paradise
  • June 15, 2022, 7:00 p.m. – Supporting native bees
  • June 22, 2022, 6:30 p.m. – Maintaining your landscape with pollinators in mind

 Library patrons can register for the webinars at www.atc-GrowSmart.com/library. The webinars will be recorded and available on ATC’s YouTube channel for viewing shortly after the live webinars. View or download the Grow Smart Pollinator Guide for suggestions on a variety of native, pollinator-friendly plants.

ATC’s pollinator habitat support

ATC is uniquely positioned to help establish pollinator habitat because of the over 10,000 miles of transmission line right-of-way we manage. Roughly 40% of the rights-of-way we manage may currently serve as suitable habitat for pollinators and our practices help make these areas suitable for pollinators.

The four-acre native prairie surrounding ATC’s Pewaukee, Wis., headquarters is certified as a native landscape by the Wildlife Habitat Council and we have helped over 30 entities that allow public access to our rights-of-way develop roughly 275 acres of pollinator habitat through our Pollinator Habitat grant program since 2017.