Badger Coulee total project cost estimate sees reduction

American Transmission Company (ATC) on Jan. 29 submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin a quarterly progress report for Oct. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018, noting that the estimated total gross project cost at completion of the Badger Coulee 345-kV Transmission Line is about $535m, compared to the approved total gross project cost of about $581.4m.

The total gross project cost through Dec. 31, 2018, was about $514m, the company said in its report, which it filed – as the project’s construction manager – on behalf of itself and its co-permittees, Northern States Power Company, Dairyland Power Cooperative, SMMPA Wisconsin, LLC, and WPPI Energy.

As TransmissionHub reported, ATC on Dec. 13, 2018, said that the 180-mile Badger Coulee transmission line, connecting the Dane County area with the La Crosse County area, is energized and part of an integrated electric system serving customers in the region.

ATC spokesperson Kaya Freiman on Dec. 13, 2018, told TransmissionHub that the project was placed in service that month.

The line will help ensure reliable electricity for the region and provide access to lower-cost power and renewable energy, ATC said, adding that the project is part of a portfolio of projects that will help enable the delivery of 25 GW of renewable energy.

A 20-mile portion of the project in Dane County was placed in service in 2017, ATC noted, adding that the project was included in a group of 17 Multi-value Projects designated by the Midcontinent ISO. Those projects are expected to create $12.1bn to $52.6bn in net economic benefits over the next 20 years to 40 years, and enable 41 million MWh per year of wind generation, the company said. 

The commission approved the Badger Coulee line in April 2015, and construction activities began in 2016, ATC said.

Gregory Levesque, ATC director of environmental and local relations, said in the statement, in part: “We will be continuing restoration work on portions of the project next year. The ATC environmental department also will continue periodic monitoring through 2023 in the right-of-way to evaluate restoration, revegetation, erosion control and invasive species in certain areas as required by state and federal permits.”

In its Jan. 29 filing, ATC noted that it divided the ordered route into eight construction segments to better manage project design, permitting, and construction.

The line between the Briggs Road and Cardinal substations was placed in service on Dec. 12, 2018, ATC said.

Right of way (ROW) restoration activities on Segment 4 of the line were completed, while ROW restoration activities on Segment 5, 6, and 7 continued. Structure setting and conductor stringing on Segment 8 of the line was completed, ATC added, noting that ROW restoration activities on that segment continued.

Construction and commissioning activities at the Briggs Road and North Madison substations were completed, the company said.

Caldron Falls-Goodman (J-88) Project

On Jan. 30, ATC filed a quarterly progress report for Oct. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018, for its Caldron Fall-Goodman (J-88) Project, telling the commission that the project’s planned in-service date is June 2020, and that all activities necessary to support that in-service date remain on schedule.

Construction began in December 2018, with clearing of the ROW, the company said.

As noted on the project’s webpage, the project involves rebuilding a 21-mile, 69-kV transmission line in Marinette County between the Caldron Falls Hydro substation on Boat Landing 8 Road and the Goodman substation on 614 Woods Lake Road. The line is in an aged condition and reaching the end of its asset life, the site noted. The project will involve removing the existing line and building a new line in the same corridor, but generally offset about 38 feet from the current line, according to the site, which also noted that the offset is necessary because the existing line cannot be taken out of service for an extended period.

Additional work will be required at the Caldron Falls and Goodman substations, as well as at the Fox Hills switching station, the site said.

In its Jan. 30 filing, ATC said that the project has received the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit; the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Utility Permit; and the WDNR Storm Water and Erosion Control Permit.

The actual project costs as of Dec. 31, 2018 were about $3.9m, out of the commission-authorized amount for the estimated project cost of about $28.2m; the revised total project cost estimate as of Dec. 31, 2018, was about $25.2m.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 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 corinar@pennwell.com.