Proposed power line to run from Outagamie-Oconto counties

power line
File photo. (MGN Online)

PEWAUKEE – American Transmission Co. has asked the state for permission to build power lines and substation facilities in five Northeast Wisconsin counties.

ATC says it wants to build a power line from just north of Appleton to the town of Morgan in Oconto County. The line, either 40 or 48 miles long, depending on the route chosen, would be part of the Bay Lake Project. Announced in 2012, the billion-dollar Bay Lake Project is meant to improve electrical service to customers in Northeast Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

“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,” David Hovde, ATC local relations consultant, said in a news release. “Without these reinforcements, areas of northeastern Wisconsin, including Green Bay and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, would be vulnerable to widespread outages.”

The North Appleton-Morgan project also includes expanded facilities at the substations at either end of the line, a new Benson Lake substation at the site of the Amberg Substation in Marinette County and work at 11 substations in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

ATC says it has spent nearly two years meeting with landowners, local officials and others who have interest in the project. The company says its route preferences balance landowner, environmental, construction and cost impacts. ATC says it prefers the eastern route in the southern part of the project because it impacts fewer homes than the western option. In the central part of the project, ATC says it prefers the western option because it shares more right-of-way with facilities which already exist. ATC does not have a route preference in the northern part of the project.

If it approves the project, the state Public Service Commission chooses the route.

The project is expected to cost between $307 million and $327 million. If approved, construction would begin in 2017, with the line delivering electricity in 2019.

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