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Power transmission perhaps in seven years
Meeting held on CardinalHickory Creek transmission line project
The proposed potential routes of the 345-kilovolt transmission line across Grant and Iowa counties are shown in blue. - photo by ITC Midwest

An open house on proposed power transmission lines through this area drew a large crowd for a project that won’t take place until the early 2020s.

The open house by American Transmission Co. and ITC Midwest at Pioneer Lanes May 10 was for the Cardinal–Hickory Creek project, a 125-mile, 345,000-volt transmission line to connect electric substations south of Holy Cross, Iowa, and the Town of Middleton through a planned substation in Montfort.

The open house followed meetings held in Belmont in October 2014 as well as meetings among ATC, ITC Midwest and a new participant, Dairyland Power Cooperative.

This open house, according to ITC Midwest representative Tom Petersen, was to determine potential conflicts with population areas and “land use, both current and potential land use. Certainly look at terrain, if there’s a lot of ridges that’s more difficult to design around.”

The route of the power lines from Cassville, where the lines will cross the Mississippi River, to Montfort and Montfort to the Town of 

See POWER page 10A υ

Middleton will be determined over the next few years, with signoff required by federal and state officials. Routes from Cassville through either Platteville or Lancaster to Montfort are “the two we think are the most viable” because they would use existing power poles, Petersen said.

The companies are required to prepare two routes for consideration. One would go due east from Cassville to the north of Potosi and Tennyson and come into Platteville’s south side, going around Platteville either west and north, or south and east between the Grant–Lafayette county line and Belmont before following existing lines through Rewey and Livingston to Montfort. The other suggested route would go south of Wisconsin 35 and Wisconsin 81, go around Lancaster to the south, and continue northeast to Montfort.

The route from Montfort to the east is less determined, with several possible routes, including U.S. 18 to Dodgeville and U.S. 18/151 to Mount Horeb; Iowa County B from Cobb to east of Dodgeville; from Montfort to north of Blackhawk Lake, then north of Governor Dodge State Park north of Dodgeville, then north to south of Spring Green and east along U.S. 14. 

The project developers plan to file applications with state agencies in 2018 or 2019, with decisions by 2019 and 2020. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also must approve the project because of the Mississippi River crossing. The project is projected to be in service by 2023.

A group that opposes the project, SOUL (Save Our Unique Lands) Wisconsin, noted the two-year delay in ATC’s application process, announced by an ATC representative at a Dodgeville Kiwanis meeting April 25.

“Planning for large transmission projects like Cardinal–Hickory Creek is developed over many years and ATC is a very persistent company,” said Rob Danielson, Secretary of SOUL of Wisconsin. “When ATC delays an application process they have already initiated, its feasible the company is not comfortable with benefits they hoped to project. 

“Demand for electricity in Wisconsin has been trending downward since 2007, making potential savings from transmission expansion projects razor thin. Upfront costs for Cardinal Hickory Creek would be very substantial and this line would be the eighth expansion project picked up by Wisconsin electric customers in the last nine years. Wisconsin’s electric rates, now highest in the Midwest, are already bulging from debt on past transmission investments.”

ATC is in the pre-construction phase of installing another 345-kilovolt transmission line, the Badger Coulee project from north of La Crosse to Blair and Black River Falls, then to the Cardinal substation where the Cardinal–Hickory Creek project will end. Besides Dairyland Power Cooperative, owners of the Badger Coulee project include WPPI Energy, a group of municipally owned utilities. That project is projected to be completed in 2018.