Regulators Approve Badger-Coulee Power Line

Construction On Major Transmission Line Could Begin Next Year

Duke Energy (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved a major transmission line project that will stretch from the La Crosse to Madison areas on Thursday.

The Badger-Coulee line project is expected to cost up to $580 million and will increase the energy capacity carried on the system. All three PSC commissioners approved the joint Xcel Energy and American Transmission Company project.

PSC Commissioner Phil Montgomery said the project is a piece of a much larger energy system.

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“Make no mistake that the benefits of reliability and economics are born here in Wisconsin,” said Montgomery.

Another PSC spokesman, Nathan Conrad, said the line will import electricity from across the country, increasing reliability and ensuring quicker power transfers.

The commissioners selected the northern route option, which will head north from Holmen to Blair, travel east to Black River Falls, then will follow Interstate 90/94 to a substation northwest of Madison.

Conrad said ratepayers in 15 states across the nation’s mid-section will have to cover the costs of the project, with Wisconsin ratepayers picking up about 15 percent of the tab.

Project opponents argued the massive posts could impact property values and that local energy solutions should have been explored.

Construction work on the project could begin next year.