Economy and Business
Tue January 1, 2013
Power Line Construction Expected Soon
High voltage transmission line opponents and developers in western Wisconsin had a whirlwind 2012. And, neither side is close to finished with its work.
Construction should begin soon in Rochester, Minnesota, on the CapX2020 line that was approved last May by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The transmission utility consortium says larger-capacity lines starting in the Dakotas are needed to provide a greater amount of energy to the area because of an increased need.
CapX2020 spokesman Tim Carlsgaard says up to 400 Wisconsin landowners will be impacted by the line. He says they'll begin purchasing easements next year.
"You just have to work with every landowner and you got to make sure you pay them well so that...their property is very, very important to them, and their homes and we need to do the right thing and make sure they're compensated for that," he says.
Construction in Wisconsin won't begin until 2014.
The line has faced opposition from a dedicated group that says more energy isn’t needed and the lines pose a number of risks. Citizens Energy Task Force unsuccessfully appealed the PSC’s decision earlier this year. Volunteer Irv Balto says they’re not giving up and will challenge it at the federal level.
“Well it’ll obviously be a tough battle, it’s always been a tough battle, but if I didn’t feel hopeful I wouldn’t continue this," he says. "I’m hopeful, especially because the facts and the law are on our side.”
American Transmission Company’s similar Badger Coulee transmission line could connect with CapX and travel to Madison. ATC plans on submitting its project application to the PSC next year. That line is also facing opposition from communities along its proposed paths.