Wisconsin CapX2020 line gets Public Service Commission approval

Published On: May 30 2012 03:41:56 PM CDT   Updated On: May 30 2012 07:34:11 PM CDT

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin utility regulators have given final approval to a power line project that would run through La Crosse, Trempealeau and Buffalo counties.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved Wednesday the CapX2020 power line project, which would put up about 48 miles of power lines, some of which would run through La Crosse County.

Click here to read the order by the PSC.

Preliminary approval was given by the board May 10 after it altered the power line's route in Holmen. The power line will cross Highway 53 to avoid a future development site.

The proposed project would replace power poles that are 80 to 90-feet high with 150 foot poles. The price tag on the project is estimated to be more than $200 million.

The 11 utility companies that are part of the project, including Xcel Energy and Dairyland Power Cooperative, say the line is needed to get energy to a population that has grown and is using more energy since the last infrastructure upgrade 30 years ago.

Opponents, including the Citizens Energy Task Force, say CapX2020 is not needed. They say studies show there is plenty of energy in western Wisconsin and that the power lines, which are one hundred feet tall, or more, would harm habitat and scenic views along the Mississippi River.

Xcel Energy says construction will not begin until late 2013.