By KEVIN MURPHY
For the Daily News
MADISON — American Transmission Co. Tuesday sought approval from utility regulators to construct a five-mile transmission line to connect the new Riverside Energy Center in the Town of Beloit to the region’s power grid.
ATC wants to begin construction in April 2018 and complete the 345,000 kilovolt line the following April, several months ahead of the planned completion of the $700 million West Riverside Energy Center (REC), due to go into service in 2020.
ATC’s preferred route for the proposed $40.6 million power line would extend south from a substation to be built just southwest of the West REC. The line would run east of Duggan Roadd, then west across County Road D and connect with a high voltage line along Gesley Road.
An alternative route would extend west from the new substation almost to Lamplighter Trail, then south before heading west across County Road D just south of the preferred route to Gesley Road and the high-voltage line there.
The preferred route is 4.2 miles long and requires 150 feet of right of way. About 2.1 acres of forested wetlands would be cleared from the preferred route, most of which is privately owned wood lots.
The alternate route is 4.5 miles long, requires 150 feet of right of way and is estimated to cost $42 million to build. About 1.3 acres of forested wetlands would be cleared from the alternate route and 9.9 acres of upland woods, much of which is privately owned.
None of the line would be undergrounded. Instead it will be strung from rusty brown steel poles some reaching 160 feet tall, according to the application ATC filed with the Public Service Commission.
A planned residential development between Walters and Duggan roads would have been impacted by the new line, but after learning of the development, ATC mapped its preferred route west to avoid the area.
In addition a line segment was planned to align with a bike trail, according to Kaya Frieman, an ATC spokesperson.
Both routes are near the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport and within the Rock County Airport Overlay Zoning District. The AOZD’s height limitations would require shorter poles than ATC usually uses. However, ATC said it will stay under the AOZD’s limitations by using shorter poles but seeking rights of way up to 200 feet in some areas.
ATC anticipates approval from the PSC in January. Public input is accepted during that time.
The line extending along the preferred route would generate a one-time environmental impact fee of $1.593 million to be shared by the county and the town of Beloit. An annual impact fee of $87,670 would be shared by the same two governments. The alternate route would yield slightly higher fees.
The project includes upgrades to a substation on Paddock Road in the Town of Beloit and a substation in the village of Rockdale in Dane County.