The three member Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize construction of a high-voltage transmission line from Dubuque, through southeastern Wisconsin to Middleton. All three members said they think the Cardinal-Hickory Creek line will save ratepayers money and bring cheap, clean wind energy into the state.
“Transmission is the backbone of clean energy alternatives to fossil fuel,” said Commission Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “Getting low-cost, clean energy from where it is plentiful in the west to where it is needed, and at the scale that it is needed, cannot be done without building transmission infrastructure. I support this project because I firmly believe that it will provide tangible economic and reliability benefits to Wisconsin customers, and will serve as the cornerstone to achieving a zero carbon future.”
But Tom Content executive director of the Citizens Utility Board, sounds a note of caution. “We certainly hope that it brings a lot of those benefits and that low cost renewable energy does flow into Wisconsin if this is built. But our expert found that there were questions about how much of that low cost power would actually be generated,“ Content said.
The $500 million joint venture between American Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative will follow route about 100 miles in length, and will be sited mainly along highway corridors. It was widely opposed by citizens’ groups. Costs will be passed on to ratepayers in 12 states, including some $67 million in Wisconsin.