ATC files plan for Barnhart to Branch River reliability project

American Transmission Company (ATC) has submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) its detailed project plan for the Barnhart to Branch River electric reliability project.

The plan, submitted July 12, details the project that is proposed to reinforce ATC’s 345-kV transmission facilities in eastern Wisconsin. The project would include either converting between 47 and 52 miles of existing 138-kV line to 345-kV and adding between 19 and 22 miles of new 138-kV line, or building between 47 and 52 miles of new 345-kV line.

In compliance with Wisconsin statues, ATC submitted the detailed plan to the WDNR at least 60 days before it intends to submit its application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW).

“We’ll be filing our regulatory application early this fall,” an ATC spokesperson told TransmissionHub on July 26. After performing its environmental and public review of the project, the PSCW will determine whether to build new lines or rebuild the exiting transmission.

The project will also include the installation of between 62 and 71 miles of optical ground wire (OPGW) – fiber optic cable – and the construction of two new substations.

The OPGW is “part of a smart-grid project that is going to connect about 300 miles of existing fiber optic facilities and that will improve our ability for remote operations at our substations,” the spokesperson said.

While the project will be built primarily in Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties, portions will also extend into Fond du Lac and Calumet Counties.

During that 60-day period, the WDNR will review the plan and provide ATC with a list of the WDNR permits or approvals which, based on the plan, appear to be required to construct the substation and transmission facilities.

The project is being proposed in part to address equipment modifications and an associated increase in generating capacity at the Point Beach nuclear plant in Manitowoc County. If the project receives all necessary approvals, construction would begin in the fall of 2016, with a 2018 in-service date.