CapX2020 utilities file for 345 kV transmission line project

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Eau Claire, Wis., January 5, 2011 — The CapX2020 utilities announced today they filed a certificate of public convenience and necessity application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for the Wisconsin portion of the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse 345 kV transmission line.

The proposed 40-55 mile segment will begin at the Mississippi River crossing location near Alma, Wis., where it connects with the 80-90 mile Minnesota segment of the line.

Once the commission completes a technical review and determines the CPCN application complete, landowners and interested stakeholders will be notified by letter that the review process is starting. Public meetings and hearings to gather input and take comments on the project will follow.

“The project will improve reliability in the La Crosse and surrounding rural areas as well as improve access to generation,” said Priti Patel, CapX2020 co-director. “It will also ensure that local communities and customers continue to enjoy reliable access to affordable electricity.”

The 345 kV line will be constructed with single-pole steel structures spaced about 800 to 1,000 feet apart. Project construction is expected to begin in 2013; the line will be energized in 2015. 

The CapX2020 utilities filed a Route Permit application for the Minnesota portion of the project with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Jan. 19, 2010. A decision on the route is expected from the commission in 2011.

The total cost of the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project is an estimated $450 million. The project will be owned by five of the CapX2020 utilities including Dairyland Power Cooperative, Rochester Public Utilities, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, WPPI Energy and Xcel Energy.

Before the transmission line can be built, permits and approvals are also required from several state and federal agencies, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Rural Utilities Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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