WPPI granted cost sharing status for two projects as a member of MISO

FERC on Jan. 14 accepted the Midcontinent ISO’s (MISO) filing on behalf of public power provider WPPI Energy for WPPI to be eligible for cost sharing on two transmission projects – the Badger–Coulee 345-kV project and the Hampton–Rochester–LaCrosse line.

WPPI is pleased with the order, a WPPI spokesperson told TransmissionHub Jan. 15.

“The return on WPPI’s investment in this project will help offset the transmission costs WPPI incurs to serve its not-for-profit municipal utility members,” she said.

The Hampton–Rochester–LaCrosse line, part of which was energized in September 2015, involves about 125 miles of 345-kV facilities and 28 miles of 161-kV facilities between Hampton, Minn., and LaCrosse, Wis.

The Badger–Coulee project is a 345-kV line of about 180 miles between LaCrosse and Madison, Wis., which was approved by Wisconsin state regulators in April 2015. The project is expected to cost between $540m and $580m to build, and has an in-service date planned in 2018.

WPPI is one of the co-owners of each of the two projects, but because it had not owned transmission assets that were in service before the energization of portions of the Hampton–Rochester–LaCrosse line and it was not a transmission-owning member of MISO, it was not eligible for cost sharing, MISO said in its petition to FERC.

Based in Sun Prairie, Wis., WPPI is a municipal joint action agency with 51 utility members and it owns generation and transmission assets, along with a minority equity stake in American Transmission Company (ATC).

WPPI sought to become a transmission-owning member of MISO and that effort was approved by the MISO board on Dec. 10, 2015, FERC noted in the order.

MISO sought FERC approval for WPPI to participate and share costs for its ownership portion of the transmission facilities, both of which are part of, or an outgrowth of, the CapX2020 transmission plan.

MISO also sought FERC approval of changes to Attachment FF-4 of its tariff to reflect WPPI’s status as a transmission-owning member of MISO, even though it filed the request before the MISO board approved the move.

“WPPI’s participation in these projects presents a circumstance that the commission has previously approved for cost sharing,” MISO said in its filing.

The FERC order accepted the filing with a June 1, 2016, effective date, which was sought by MISO in its Dec. 4, 2015, proposal.

No party in the proceeding (Docket No. ER16-467) protested or filed adverse comments on the proposal, the order pointed out.

Besides WPPI, the other owners of the $500m Hampton–Rochester–LaCrosse project are Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL), Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Dairyland Power Cooperative and Rochester Public Utilities.