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Cost of building power transmission line growing

Crows knocked out power to 100,000 in 3 states
Posted at 9:47 AM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 10:47:52-04

WISCONSIN — Rising material prices and legal expenses are expected to add nearly $50 million more to the cost of a power transmission line being built across southern Wisconsin.

American Transmission Co., ITC Midwest, and Dairyland Power Cooperative are building the 345-kilovolt Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line that would run more than 100 miles from Dane County to Dubuque County in Iowa.

The utilities have notified the Wisconsin Public Service Commission that the overall cost of the project is now expected to top more than half a billion dollars, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

In the filing, the utilities cited considerable increases in the cost of steel, conductors, insulators, and other materials.

The price of steel for ATC has spiked 93 percent while the cost for conductors has risen 68 percent since initial cost projections in 2018.

The project’s co-owners also said ongoing expenses from multiple legal challenges have driven up costs to build the line.

In March, the utilities appealed a federal judge’s decision that blocked the project’s crossing through the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. District Judge William Conley sided with conservation groups that challenged approvals issued by federal agencies for the project, including the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Utilities are disputing the judge’s decision, and they asked a federal appeals court to put the judge’s ruling on hold until an appeals panel decides the case. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeal denied that request for a hold earlier this month.