Xcel Proposes Northern Wisconsin Transmission Line

Xcel Energy is proposing a new 22-mile, 34.5-kilovolt transmission line at the tip of northern Wisconsin. The roughly $26 million project is necessary to strengthen power in the area, according to the company.

Xcel Energy has one transmission line providing power to the Bayfield Peninsula which was installed during the 1950s, said project manager Chris Buboltz. He said it’s difficult to maintain the line or restore power during outages because it’s not easy to access.

“We’re just not able to do those maintenance and those refurbishment projects because we can’t take the line out to do them because people will be out of power,” he said.

Buboltz said they’ve seen outages ranging from four to eight hours in the area due to accessibility and safety issues. Xcel’s proposed line would include installing poles within the first 5 feet of a landowner’s property line. Around 130 private landowners would be impacted by the project along with 7.5 miles of county forest land. Town of Washburn resident Roy Settgas said the new line would cross his property which doesn’t bother him. But, he said it’s drawing concern for some landowners and requests for more consideration of the proposed route. Buboltz said Xcel is delaying its timeline to start the permitting process with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, which the company had set to begin in October. He said Xcel wants to talk with more people about the project and why they feel it’s needed.

XCEL ENERGY WIND PROJECTS DELIVER FOR CUSTOMERS AND COMMUNITIES

Xcel Energy recently announced the nation’s largest multi-state investment in wind energy with eleven new wind
farms in seven states. Adding 3,380 megawatts of new wind generation will keep customer bills low now and in the
future. It is an example of the significant value wind energy provides to customers and communities as the country
recognizes the inaugural American Wind Week. The American Wind Energy Association launched American Wind
Week, August 6-12, 2017, to acknowledge U.S. leadership in wind power, along with economic and environmental
benefits of wind as the industry expands to meet the country’s growing demand for energy.

“As the nation’s No. 1 utility wind provider for more than a decade, we’ve long recognized this abundant natural
resource provides tremendous value to our customers and communities,” according to Ben Fowke, Xcel Energy
Chairman, President and CEO. “Wind power is emissions-free and cheaper than fossil fuels, allowing us to deliver lower prices and cleaner energy to our customers today and in the decades to come.”

Xcel Energy has more than 6,600 megawatts of wind energy on its system companywide, representing eight percent
of the nation’s total wind capacity – enough to power about three million average homes annually. The company’s
customers use energy generated from nearly 4,300 wind turbines in seven states; Colorado, Texas, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wisconsin and Michigan customers benefit from the power
generated by the turbines as well.

Minnesota Commission Green Lights Xcel Energy’s Midwest Wind Expansion

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved Xcel Energy’s plan for the largest expansion of wind energy in the Upper Midwest. The North Dakota Public Service Commission will review the plan later this year. The new wind projects will save Xcel Energy customers billions of dollars in fuel and other costs, as compared to the
costs of other energy sources. Seven new wind farms are slated to be built in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and
South Dakota and will be operational by the end of 2020. The projects will provide enough energy to power more than 800,000 homes, increasing Xcel Energy’s regional wind output by approximately 70 percent.

“We’re investing in low-cost wind energy to provide the benefits of clean, affordable energy directly to our
customers,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “These projects deliver on our plan to keep
energy costs low while also reducing carbon emissions by more than 60 percent in the coming decades.”

With these new wind farms, Xcel Energy is locking in low-cost, carbon-free energy. As no fuel is needed for
wind farms, the cost of electricity from the wind farms is not affected by fuel price spikes. Customers receive the
benefit of low, stable electricity prices from these wind farms for the 25-year life of the projects.

“Our strategy delivers the long-term value our customers tell us they want,” said Clark. “These projects give
our customers both lower bills over the long term and predictable prices in addition to a cleaner energy mix.”

Xcel Energy will own 1,150 megawatts of the new wind energy; the remaining 400 megawatts will be sold to the
company under long-term power purchase agreements.

WUI Board of Directors Tours Wisconsin’s Largest Hydro Dam

Jim Falls Dam, Chippewa Falls, WI

 

WUI Board Members and Staff from left to right; James Buchen, Charles Clarke, Roger Cole,Michelle Lancaster, Phillip Mikulsky, Walter Woelfle, Thomas Fehring, Jeffery West, Richard Krueger, Kenyon Kies, and Trudy Popenhagen.

 


On June 15, 2017, members of the Wisconsin Utility Investors Board held  a board of director’s meeting in Chippewa Falls and toured the state’s largest hydro dam (in terms of generating capacity) at Jim Falls. The dam is an impressive engineering accomplishment, built in 1988 and functioning at full capacity today while preserving and contributing to the natural beauty, habitat and leisure access of the area. Board members were grateful to Xcel Energy for the opportunity to learn more about the powerful contribution of this hydro dam in terms of energy and preservation of our natural resources.

XCEL ENERGY AND FAA LAUNCH SAFETY PARTNERSHIP

Xcel Energy has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Federal Aviation
Administration to research the safe operation of drone technology to inspect critical
infrastructure. The agreement involves using unmanned aircraft systems to inspect more
than 20,000 miles of Xcel Energy transmission lines in 10 states. The data collected from
diverse climates, conditions and geographies will be used by the federal agency to secure
the nation’s airspace now and in the future.

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