T&D World Magazine

ATC’s Studies Identify $3.4 Billion in Transmission Investment Needed over Next 10 Years

American Transmission Co. (ATC) has issued its annual 10-Year Transmission System Assessment, calling for $3.4 billion in electric transmission system improvements in portions of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan through 2019.

“The infrastructure improvements we have made in the last 10 years have eased constraints on our system and have allowed our customers access to lower-cost sources of electricity. There is an increasing need for an expanded regional transmission system because of an emerging wholesale marketplace and federal and state policy changes,” explains Flora Flygt, director of strategic projects at ATC. “This year’s assessment not only addresses projects needed for system reliability, but also includes emerging projects that meet larger, regional needs based on economic benefits and public policy initiatives for renewable energy.”

ATC’s 2010 assessment of transmission system needs includes:

  • $1.0 billion for transmission network upgrades,
  • $1.7 billion in interconnection and asset renewal projects, replacements and other small network improvements and
  • $0.7 billion in regional, multi-benefit projects.

Several regional planning initiatives undertaken by multiple stakeholders have identified common projects, including 345-kV lines between La Crosse and Madison, Wis., and Madison and Dubuque, Iowa. While still under study, ATC is beginning public outreach later this month on the Badger Coulee project, a proposed 150-mi 345-kV line between La Crosse and the greater Madison areas. Other emerging projects include new or upgraded 138- and 345-kV facilities to accommodate a generator upgrade at Point Beach Nuclear Plant and a potential 6-mi, 345-kV line to alleviate congestion on transmission facilities in Kenosha County.

“Access to economic sources of generation continues to be an emphasis in our planning studies,” notes Paul Roehr, director of system planning. “The infrastructure improvements we have made in the last 10 years have eased constraints on our system and have allowed our customers access to lower-cost sources of electricity.”

When the Midwest wholesale market was established in 2005, the average locational marginal price within ATC’s footprint was $63.27 per megawatt hour, more than $10 higher than the average in neighboring market hubs. In 2009, the difference was only $1.27 per megawatt hour.

Since 2001, ATC has invested more than $2.2 billion to: upgrade more than 1,650 mi of transmission line; improve 140 electric substations; and build 40 new transmission lines (530 mi).

ATC’s 10-Year Assessment is available online at www.atc10yearplan.com

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