The Badger Coulee Transmission Line project could end up costing as much as $580 million and for the first time residents are learning how much money they would be asked to contribute.
This week, American Transmission Company submitted an environmental impact statement about the proposed Badger Coulee Power Line. Along with covering a wide array of issues from environmental concerns to social impacts, it also breaks down the cost to local residents
"I think the town of Holland is getting whammed twice,” said Marilyn Pedretti, town clerk for the town of Holland.
For a town of about 3,800 people near Holmen, it almost seems like déjà vu.
"We have got CapX2020 coming through and then proposing to put another one through -- our residents are being asked to sacrifice quite a lot,” said Pedretti.
"This is what we've had the feeling of when we first started working with CapX2020,” said Nancy Proctor, village president for the village of Holmen.
A few years ago, the CapX2020 line was installed in the town of Holland.
Now the American Transmission Company is asking them to accept a new power line that would span from La Crosse County to Dane County.
"The benefits of the Badger Coulee Project are electrical reliability, access to lower cost-power and access to renewable energy,” said Kaya Freiman, corporate communications with American Transmission Company.
ATC is proposing two different routes that vary in cost. The northern route would head north from Briggs Road Substation in Holmen, travel through Trempealeau County and head east toward Black River Falls. Then it would head south along the interstate to Dane County. The cost is estimated to be $580 million.
The southern route would head south from the Briggs Road Substation, in Holmen, go through La Crosse and Monroe County, then head east through Juneau County and eventually end up in Dane County. The cost is estimated to be $540 Million.
"This is a multivalued project and has been designated so by the regional grid operator. It is eligible for cost sharing, so ratepayers in this area would end up paying for about 10-15 percent of the project,” said Freiman.
If the northern route is chosen, ratepayers will be responsible for anywhere from $58 million to $87 million.
If the southern route is chosen, they will be responsible for anywhere from $54 million to $81 million.
"That's a lot of money, a lot of money on the backs of our residents, it's the ratepayers, they are the ones paying for this line to go through,” said Pedretti.
"We don't want to raise taxes; we do the darndest to do as well as we can with the money we have to work with,” said Proctor. "But if this comes in, they are going to get hit anyway. There really isn't anything we can do about it."
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is accepting comments from the public until Oct. 3.
There are two ways you can contribute: mail and email.
If you would like to send a comment via mail, send the letter to the address below.
Docket 5-CE-142 comments
Public Service Commission
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7854
Click this link if you would like to send an email. Click on the “Public Comments” button on the side menu bar. On the next page select the “File a comment” link that appears for docket number 5-CE-142.
If you would like to know more about the Badger Coulee Power Line, here is a direct link to the complete environmental impact statement.