, ,

Renewable Energy Group Seeks Alternative To Xcel’s Proposed Transmission Line

Nonprofit Organization Proposes Submarine Line As Secondary Power Source


A Chequamegon Bay nonprofit group is proposing a renewable energy alternative to Xcel Energy’s proposed $26 million transmission line in northern Wisconsin. The group claims the alternative could save the utility company around $10 million.

Bill Bailey, president of the board of directors for Chequamegon Bay Renewables, said the nonprofit’s proposal would include a submarine cable running underwater from Ashland to Washburn. He said the group’s proposal would also include a 5 megawatt solar generation facility and 10 megawatts of battery storage in Bayfield.

“We think that what Xcel has proposed is basically old technology. It’s the way things have been done in the past 70 years. What we are proposing is basically the future,” he said. “As solar energy prices have come down, as battery storage has come down, we think that we could provide better service to the grid by going this route.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Even if Xcel supports their alternative proposal, Bailey said Chequamegon Bay Renewables wouldn’t be involved with the project.

“Once the proposal is talked about, it would be up to Xcel’s engineers to move forward with like the submarine cables aspect of it, for example,” he said. “We can help get the solar developer into the picture, but then the conversation would be between the solar developer and Xcel too. We are just a facilitator. We have no financial or otherwise involvement.”

Bailey added their proposal would also satisfy the 2009 Energy Independent Community Voluntary Agreement. The agreement states that 25 percent of the energy consumed should be renewable energy by 2025. Many communities in Wisconsin have signed this agreement, including Bayfield and Ashland counties.

The group is presenting their proposal to Bayfield’s town board meeting this evening.

Chris Buboltz, Xcel Energy’s project manager, declined to comment on the group’s proposal because they haven’t yet had a chance to review it.