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Wis. regulator approves $120M transmission upgrade for manufacturing facility

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Essential Energy Insights - January 2021


Wis. regulator approves $120M transmission upgrade for manufacturing facility

Wisconsin regulators approved the construction of new transmission lines and a substation to supply electricity to an estimated $10 billion electronics manufacturing facility announced a year ago by President Donald Trump.

Transmission company American Transmission Co. LLC, or ATC, got approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on July 26 to build needed infrastructure to electrify a new campus developed by Taiwanese electronics firm Foxconn.

Foxconn, owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., announced in July 2017 that it planned to open a manufacturing facility in WEC Energy Group Inc.'s service territory in southeastern Wisconsin. The state of Wisconsin later approved $3 billion in incentives for the company, which will make liquid crystal display screens for companies such as Apple Inc.

WEC Energy has estimated the Foxconn facility, when complete, have an initial electric load of about 230 MW.

During a July 26 meeting, the three-member commission voted unanimously to let ATC build the Mount Pleasant Tech Interconnection Project, including a new substation, called Mount Pleasant, and an underground 138-kV line to connect the new substation to Foxconn's campus. The project also involves building two new 345-kV transmission lines to connect the Mount Pleasant Substation with existing lines. Furthermore, the project would involve rerouting the existing 345-kV Bain-Pleasant Prairie line and adding new equipment to an existing 345-kV line running about 12 miles from an existing substation in Racine County to a switchyard in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

The commission also gave preliminary approval to ATC's preferred route and the project costs, which ATC estimates at between $117.2 million and $120.3 million.

The commission tied its approval to several conditions including the requirement that ATC work with landowners to discus construction timelines and that ATC obtain all necessary federal, state and local permits prior to starting construction.

The PSC gave its decision orally and is expected to issue a final written decision in the coming weeks, spokesman Matthew Spencer said by email.

ATC spokeswoman Luella Dooley-Menet said July 27 the cost to individual customers will be low because ATC plans to spread the project's costs over 40 years and across customers in service area, which covers parts of Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Illinois and Minnesota. ATC is owned by investor-owned, municipal and cooperative utilities in the region. (PSC of Wisconsin Docket No. 137-CE-188)