Wisconsin regulators: Deadline to submit EIS scoping comments on 345-kV project is March 12

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin recently said that the deadline for submitting Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping comments regarding an American Transmission Company (ATC) 345-kV transmission project is March 12.

As noted in the filing – which was sent to property owners directly along the proposed routes, individuals who have asked to be placed on a mailing list, and public officials – the commission has received information regarding an application from ATC for the construction of high-voltage electric transmission lines and a new substation related to the proposed Mount Pleasant Tech Interconnection Project, located in the city of Racine and villages of Caledonia, Sturtevant, and Mount Pleasant, Racine County; the town of Somers, city of Kenosha, and villages of Somers and Pleasant Prairie, Kenosha County; and the city of Oak Creek, Milwaukee County, in Wisconsin.

Commission and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff are identifying issues and conducting analyses to include in the draft EIS related to the proposed new line and substation work related to the proposed plant, the commission added.

As part of that effort, the agencies are holding a public outreach/scoping session in the project area, the commission said, noting that the session will be held on Jan. 16 in Sturtevant.

The proposed project would include adding a second 345-kV line to an existing 12-mile transmission line between the existing Racine and Pleasant Prairie substations. The commission also said that a new substation would be built south of Braun Road along the east side of County Trunk Highway H. Two sets of double-circuit transmission lines would be built from that new substation east to the existing 345-kV transmission line. Additional modifications to existing substations and lines are proposed, as well as an underground 138-kV line to connect the new substation to a substation planned to be built by Foxconn, the commission added.

The proposed project cost for the new lines, modifications, and substations is estimated at $140m, the commission said.

The proposed project is a “Type I” project, the commission said, noting that the EIS will cover the need for the project, its cost, as well as potential environmental, community, and private property impacts. The commission said that the draft EIS will likely be issued in the spring, and will be followed by a 45-day comment period – comments will be used to prepare the final EIS.

The commission said that it will hold technical and public hearings on the project no less than 30 days after the release of the final EIS. At this time, the hearing is anticipated to be in June, the commission said, noting that it will discuss the record for the project at a meeting open to the public anticipated to be in the summer.

Discussing state and federal agency jurisdiction, the commission said that it will decide whether to approve, modify, or deny ATC’s proposal, based on the record of analysis of need, cost, engineering performance, and potential environmental and societal impacts. DNR will consider ATC’s application for wetland and waterway permits. The commission added that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection produced an Agricultural Impact Statement for the larger Foxconn project area, and may provide an update or addendum to that AIS. The commission said that the Wisconsin Historical Society may review the proposed project for any potential adverse impacts to listed cultural resources.

As noted on the Racine County Foxconn website, Foxconn is investing an estimated $10bn to create a “state-of-the-art advanced display manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant.”

Discussing the need for its transmission project, ATC said on its website that when the state of Wisconsin developed a contractual agreement with Foxconn last fall, the commitment led to the need for additional infrastructure to support the 20 million square foot campus.

With an initial electric load estimate of 230 MW, Foxconn is expected to use up to six times more electricity than the next largest manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, ATC said, adding that the expected electric usage by the planned Foxconn manufacturing facility will require ATC to strengthen the high-voltage electric system in the area by adding a 345-kV transmission line and the new Mount Pleasant Substation.

ATC said that it will submit an application to the commission in February, and if the commission approves the project in 3Q18, then construction would begin in late 2018 on the substation and in early 2019 for the transmission lines. All electrical infrastructure has an expected in-service date of late 2019 or early 2020, ATC said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.