American Transmission Company (ATC) recently filed with Wisconsin regulators quarterly progress reports for the period July 1 through Sept. 30 regarding the company’s Branch River Electric Reliability Project and Boscobel to Lone Rock (Line Y124) Rebuild Project.
As TransmissionHub reported, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin at a July 2015 open meeting granted ATC a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for the Branch River project. The PSC voted to approve ATC’s preferred substation site and route alternative for the project.
According to the commission’s final decision, which has a “service date” of Aug. 14, 2015, ATC in October 2014 filed with the commission an application for a CPCN to build the Branch River project. ATC proposed to build a new 345-kV switching station, to be known as the Branch River substation, at one of two adjacent sites in the town of Franklin, Manitowoc County, Wis. A new 345-kV transmission line would be built to connect the new substation to the existing transmission system, the commission added, noting that an existing 138-kV line would also be relocated in order to accommodate the new 345-kV line construction.
ATC said in its application for the Branch River project that the project is needed to strengthen the company’s transmission system and to remove operating restrictions on the Point Beach nuclear generating units in Manitowoc County.
In its Oct. 18 quarterly progress report regarding the project, ATC said that the Branch River project remains on schedule with a projected February 2018 in-service date.
Installation of substation equipment foundations, supports, and equipment commenced, ATC said, adding that the control building was received and installed.
Of the transmission line portion of the project, ATC said that installation of structure foundations and erection of direct buried structures have also commenced.
Actual Branch River project costs through Sept. 30 were about $21.3m, of the “ordered” approximately $40.9m total gross project cost, the company said.
Boscobel to Lone Rock project
In its Oct. 19 quarterly progress report for the Boscobel to Lone Rock project, ATC said that that project is on schedule for a December 2019 in-service date.
As TransmissionHub reported, the commission on Sept. 11 told ATC that the company’s request for an extension of time to begin construction on the Boscobel to Lone Rock project is granted.
“Order Condition 17 of the above-stated final decision is revised to require starting date for the subject project by June 1, 2018,” the commission said. “All other conditions of the commission’s September 17, 2016, final decision remain unchanged.”
ATC, in an Aug. 30 filing made with the commission, requested an extension until June 2018 to begin construction on the project.
As noted in that filing, the commission granted to ATC a certificate of authority, effective Sept. 17, 2016, to rebuild its 69-kV transmission line between the Boscobel and Lone Rock substations. Condition 17 of the order granting the certificate requires ATC to request an extension and receive approval if construction will not begin within one year of the effective date of the order, the company noted.
ATC said that as described in its application and the commission’s order, the company intended to begin construction in June by starting right of way (ROW) clearing activities. The company noted that currently, it intends to begin construction late this year or early 2018 with ROW clearing.
The requested extension would allow additional time for permitting and easement acquisition, and would better align ROW clearing activities with Order Condition 12, which requires the company to consider modifying its schedule to perform vegetation management activities during winter months when vegetation is dormant, to mitigate impacts.
The company added that the requested extension would not impact the approved project cost or change the planned December 2019 in-service date.
The commission, in its September 2016 final decision, granted, subject to conditions, ATC’s application for authority to rebuild about 25 miles of the existing 69-kV transmission line between the existing Boscobel substation in the city of Boscobel, Grant County, and the Lone Rock substation in the town of Buena Vista, Richland County.
Other than rerouting the line in two segments for a total distance of about nine miles, the existing line will be rebuilt within its existing ROW, the commission said in its decision.
The operating voltage of the line will remain at 69 kV, the commission said. ATC proposes to rebuild about 25 miles of the existing 27.6-mile line, the commission said, adding that the company and its predecessor transmission owner have performed maintenance rebuilding on the remaining 2.6 miles of the line during the past 20 to 30 years. On that section of the line, ATC proposes to selectively replace additional facilities following regular maintenance inspections, the commission said.
In its Oct. 19 quarterly progress report, ATC said that an incidental take authorization (ITA) application was submitted in June to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation. One comment was received during the public comment period, the company said, adding that it is anticipated that the ITA will be issued by the end of this month.
“USFWS has issued a biological opinion to USACE,” the company said. “USACE is working to issue an individual permit and decision memo for the project. It is anticipated that the permit will be issued by early November.”
Detailed design activities on the transmission line portion of the project continue, while detailed design activities on the substation portion have not started, the company said.
Actual project costs as of Sept. 30 were about $2.9m of the “approved” approximately $32.4m total project cost, ATC said.