In its application to the Public Service Commission in November, American Transmission Co. will propose a route along Adams Rd. and CHM as its preferred route for a new transmission line for the Fitchburg to Verona Electric System Upgrade. ATC will host a public open house Thursday, Sept. 14, in Fitchburg for the public to view maps and ask questions.
ATC is proposing a 6-mile, 138-kV electric transmission line that would connect a new substation, called the Oak Ridge Substation to be constructed in Fitchburg to an existing substation in Verona. “The preferred route that we’ll recommend to the PSC makes use of an existing transmission line corridor,” explains Sarah Justus, ATC local relations. “We believe this route has less impact and allows us to limit the amount of new right-of-way that will be needed.” A second route to the north along Whalen Rd. would require new right-of-way. ATC intends to identify this route as its proposed “alternate” route in its application. The PSC can select either route if it approves the project.
The project is needed to meet growing demand for electricity in south central Dane County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Verona’s population between 2000 and 2005 grew by
44 % —a rate faster than any other community in the state. “The existing facilities are operating at near-maximum capacity during the peak summer season and are projected to be overloaded by summer 2008,” says Justus. “The transmission system in this area is outdated and needs to be reinforced to prevent future system failures. The project also will strengthen Madison Gas & Electric’s local distribution system.”
ATC has spent the past year talking with local residents and evaluating many initial route options. “Local residents told us over several meetings that if transmission lines are needed, locating them along the existing transmission line corridor was preferable to creating new right of way. The existing power line route along Adams Rd. and County M also emerged as a cost-effective and technically feasible route that reduces impacts to the community and the environment,” says Justus.
ATC expects the PSC to hold a public hearing on the Verona Fitchburg project in early 2007 and make a decision a few months thereafter. If the project is approved, the PSC makes the final route selection as part of its decision.