American Transmission Co. has submitted a regulatory application to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, seeking permission to build new power lines and substation facilities in Outagamie, Brown, Shawano, Oconto and Marinette counties.
“The North Appleton-Morgan Project is needed to address reliability concerns, changes in generation and demand in the region, and the evolution of a wholesale electricity market,” said David Hovde, ATC local relations consultant. “Without these reinforcements, areas of northeastern Wisconsin, including Green Bay and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, would be vulnerable to widespread outages.”
As part of ATC’s Bay Lake Project announced in 2012, North Appleton-Morgan includes:
- A new 345-kV line and a new 138-kV line between the North Appleton Substation on French Road in the Town of Freedom in Outagamie County and the Morgan Substation in Oconto County (about 40 to 48 mi depending on route),
- Expanded facilities at North Appleton and Morgan substations,
- A new Benson Lake Substation at the site of the Amberg Substation in Marinette County to accommodate a large voltage-control device and
- Additional work at 11 substations in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
ATC met with landowners, local officials and other interested stakeholders for nearly two years to develop route alternatives for the new transmission lines. A number of different route section options are identified in the application that generally form an east or west alternative within three routing areas.
When proposing route options to the PSC, ATC will sometimes state a preference for an option that would balance landowner, environmental, construction and cost impacts.
ATC has expressed a preference for the east option in the south routing area, the west option in the central routing area and no preference in the north routing area.
- ATC has stated a preference for the east option in the south routing area because the west option travels through densely developed residential areas and would impact more residences than the east option.
- The west option in the central routing area has been designated as the preferred option because it shares more right-of-way with existing facilities.
- No preference has been expressed for the north routing area; the west option provides more opportunity for shared right-of-way and fewer environmental impacts, but could impact more properties. The east option, while shorter and straighter, could have more environmental impacts.
“While we have expressed preferences in certain areas, it is important for all stakeholders to remain involved in the process because the Public Service Commission ultimately chooses the route if the project is approved,” Hovde explained.
Single-circuit, self-supporting steel monopole structures would be used in most locations. The typical height of the structures would be 85 ft on the 138-kV line and 120 ft on the 345-kV line.
Estimated cost of the project is $307 to $327 million, depending on the route and substation alternatives. If approved, construction would begin in 2017 and the line would be placed in service in 2019.