American Transmission to improve Wisconsin power line

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on June 16 issued a notice saying it won’t need to write an environmental impact statement on planned transmission projects of American Transmission Co.

ATC is seeking approval from the commission to improve the existing M13 single-circuit 115-kV transmission line, between the Kelly Substation in Marathon County, the Bunker Hill Substation in Lincoln County, and the Blackbrook Substation in Langlade County, known as the Line M13 Reinforcement Project.

In this project, ATC proposes to:

·      build a new 115 kV substation (Ackley Substation) located between the Bunker Hill and Blackbrook Substations;

·      rebuild Line M13 as double-circuit 115 kV between the Bunker Hill and Blackbrook Substations;

·      retire and remove the Bunker Hill and Blackbrook Substations; and

·      uprate Line M13 from the Bunker Hill Substation to the Kelly Substation.

ATC states that the project is needed to mitigate potential single-contingency overloads on Line M13, replace aging infrastructure on Line M13, and improve transmission system protection.

The route of the rebuild portion of the project begins at the Blackbrook Substation in the town of Ackley, Langlade County and follows the existing Line M-13 route west to the proposed Ackley Substation in the town of Pine River, Lincoln County. The rebuild would take place adjacent to the existing M13 line. The route of the uprate follows the existing M13 route south from the proposed Ackley Substation to the Kelly Substation in the village of Weston, Marathon County.

This is a Type II action under Wisconsin code, which requires the preparation of an environmental assessment to determine whether an environmental impact statement is necessary.

Based on the assessment prepared by commission staff, a preliminary determination indicates that the project would have some temporary and long-term social/community impacts and effects on natural resources. Strategies to avoid or mitigate some of the temporary and long-term impacts are available and would be implemented if the project is approved. Thus, the proposed project is not expected to affect the quality of the human environment and preparation of an impact statement is not required, the commission said.

Comments on the finding of no significant impact for this proposed project must be received by Friday, July 1, 2016.

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy's Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication's editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University.

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