Dispute Over Ownership of New Energy Line


The fight to own a major transmission power line from La Crosse to Madison may not be over, despite a federal decision on the case.

For years, American Transmission Company has been planning the proposed Badger-Coulee line, a massive energy transmission project stretching from La Crosse to Madison. Xcel Energy says it should co-own the line since the Badger-Coulee line hooks up with Xcel’s substations.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently sided with Xcel, granting it 50 percent ownership of the Badger-Coulee line.

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Xcel is one of eleven power companies involved in the CapX2020 transmission project. That project travels from the Dakotas and could connect with the Badger-Coulee line in La Crosse.

John Flynn is ATC’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Project Development. He says they may either ask FERC for a rehearing, or, ATC could file a separate complaint and claim 50 percent ownership of the CapX project. “Much like Xcel’s argument, we would argue that they are ultimately interconnecting to our facilities. The eastern terminus of this entire infrastructure as it relates to these projects is an ATC facility. Theoretically we could be entitled to 50 percent of the entirety.”

Flynn says the project’s timeline should not be affected.

But Xcel Energy Director of Strategic Transmission Initiatives Priti Patel says the timeline depends on when the two companies can start working together. “Xcel Energy is prepared to work with ATC, starting tomorrow. Our hope is that ATC has a similar sentiment.”

As line co-owners, Xcel and ATC would share the cost of the line. Officials say line ownership should not impact costs to consumers.