|11/30/2018 1:19:00 PM|
There are misconceptions
There is a misconception that all the local energy development projects are completely independent of the Cardinal Hickory Creek Transmission line. And, in one respect, that may well be true, as they are proposed by what seem to different entities. However, in other respects, these entities seem to be trying to blur the vision of those watching and to keep the golden aura of solar and wind power from being linked to the recognized eyesore of high voltage transmission lines that are almost universally unwanted.
There is a remarkable amount of information found in the several Public Service Commission application documents for the solar and transmission projects, that allow those interested to understand the potential scope and intentions of the monied interests to manipulate public ignorance for their own gain. Without an effort to read holistically the many pages of these documents, the public is left being fed information like that from a questionable used car salesman.
Badger Hollow very clearly states that, "Invenergy planned Badger Hollow solar farm project with the intention of using the existing 138 kV infrastructure only... Invenergy has no present need to connect to [CHC]... Invenergy filed an application... to connect...to ATC's transmission system at a new substation... along the Wyoming Valley - Eden ATC 138 kV transmission [line]." Their application does not detail how this connection to the system would be accomplished. In fact, when the PSC asked for details on the connection, Invenergy's response deferred the answer saying, "The final design details will be known upon completion of the MISO [ATC interconnection] study process... [We] will provide additional information regarding necessary transmission facilities as it becomes available." (MISO is a body formed and controlled by a consortium of utilities to manage the power grid as they see fit). But those studies are available, and MISO studies are not scheduled to be completed until 4th quarter 2019.
The current wind facility in Montfort generates 30MW, Badger Hollow will generate 300 MW, the Red Barn Wind facility is slated to generate an additional 100 MW and there is another wind facility in the pipeline as well planned to generate another 100 MW. That's nearly 600MW of power that is NOT needed in the immediate area and would need to be transmitted. As those facilities come on line or are approved, then ATC could use that generation to justify the line.
By deferring the decision and denying any "intent" or current "plan" to use the ATC lines, Invenergy deflects the responsibility to MISO and the ATC who will claim need for transmission lines once the power generation facilities are approved. In truth, ATC, on page 41 of their Planning Analysis for CHC, ATC explains that to address the constraints of this additional solar facility not only requires building CHC but recommends building the line east of [Montfort] capable of holding an additional transmission line, "Having the Hill Valley - Cardinal 345 kV line constructed as 345/138 kV double circuit capable will give the system planners increased flexibility... to handle increased generation in southwest Wisconsin including... J870-200 MW Solar (Badger Hollow) and J871-100 MW Solar (Badger Hollow)." These projects must be looked at as a group, for they are indeed all connected.
Renewable power is good, and solar particularly because it tracks peak demand and can be put near points of use. It's been done in many locations around the US and the world and most states carefully regulate these facilities. Currently, Wisconsin is behind other states and has NO (that's right zero, none) regulations on siting, set-backs, decommissioning or maintenance for solar projects. Pretending there is no connection between massive power generation facilities and the transmission lines that will support them is disingenuous on the part of Invenergy, but totally expected given they are only working for their profit. Pretending there is no connection between massive power generation facilities and the transmission lines that will support them would be disingenuous on the part of PSC charged with reviewing the applications. The people of southwest Wisconsin, along with the rest of the state, must be unwilling to put their head in the sand and deny the connection. After all, we're not going to make million$, and we'll be paying the price.
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