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Cardinal Hickory Creek Application Submitted

        Nine, high-capacity transmission lines have been halted by utility commissioners in other states [1]. With use flat, they looked at benefits that were razor thin and logically chose Non-Transmission Alternatives including energy efficiency and other load management tools to lower and localize future use.

       One does not have to be clairvoyant to see that the world of energy is getting smaller, closer, more efficient, more self-sufficient and more responsible with every passing day. The demands of “end users” are officially driving renewables, declining use, most CO2 reduction and stabilizing electric bills. Within years, all utility investment will shift to cash in on end user passions. This can accelerated by electric customers and community leaders logically observing that, “enough is truly, enough.”

       Since 2005, Wisconsin electric customers have assumed seven, high interest mortgages on seven expansion transmission lines. Since 2015, our state grid has been regularly and nationally recognized for its reliability [2].

       Each the seven prior lines  promised savings and CO2 reductions. Before deciding whether to add another expansion line, Cardinal Hickory Creek (CHC), PSC led study is needed to see what actually happened with those investments before educated expectation for another line is even conceivable. Wisconsin’s exceptional rate and fee hikes since 2005 are highly indicative [3]; to ignore these obvious cues is the worst business practice imaginable.

       As the many individuals, groups and municipalities working to stop CHC come around the final bend head for the straight, we see the expansion lines being stopped all around us and must soberly ask ourselves, what did these movements do that is different? After all, we have grown stronger but we still failed 7 times.

       First, a look at what we have in common with the successful efforts. In all 7 approved expansion lines, Wisconsin Commissioners have taken it upon themselves to personally vote against: record numbers of opposing electric customers, scores of municipal government resolutions, well-founded reservations of dozens of lawmakers and against cautions raised by experts on their staff. With only a sentence or two, Commission lawyers have dismissed highly cost and environmentally effective No Wire Alternatives founded on energy efficiency, load management and local power solutions. Why did the lawyers skip writing traditional critique of a more cost effective solution? Courts do not require them to [4]

       All of these crucial, supporting factors will be larger and better-documented wth Cardinal Hickory Creek unless we lose steam. Our deficiency is not the number of citizens/electric customers engaged, the number of resolutions adopted or the incisiveness of the counter engineering opposition forces will mount.

       The standout difference with the winning formulas is our commissioners in Wisconsin have yet to face a large number of outspoken, prominent community leaders rationally describing personal and community/business-minded reasons that further utility expansion is clearly not the way to proceed. The other difference is our leaders have yet to see their neighbors, regular citizens and electric customers, standing with substantial concern, in official capacity as intervenors before the PSC. These are the two, apparent, stones that can flip Wisconsin.

       The first successful defeat of a superfluous, high-capacity transmission line occurred in West Virginia, Virginia and Delaware in 2009 [5]. The proposal was met by 250, highly informed, public intervenors and more than 40 publicly outspoken municipal governments across three states. In Iowa in 2016, lawmakers adopted legislation to meet higher expectations of landowners and electric customers. In Missouri in 2016, four counties locked arms, denied access to transmission builders and made the utilities re-apply under improved terms. In Oregon in 2017, lawmakers and a wide array of community leaders made it abundantly clear to their commissioners that any questionable need resulting in a large, imposing and cost-ineffective transmission line is wholly unacceptable. As a result, regulators in Oregon fully backtracked and choose No Wire Alternatives [6].

       In simple terms, Wisconsin Commissioners must be abundantly aware by 2019 that any vote for CHC is a clear vote against the wishes of business, industry, education, church and elected leaders. Leaders of this caliber rarely speak up and when they do, it demands everyones’ attention.

       The talent engaged in CHC opposition is extraordinary. All we need to do is commit to helping more of our business leaders, mayors, county supervisors, chamber of commerce heads, church leaders and community and trade/industry organizations discover their personal visions and speak-up.

        Yes, this does take some reading, thinking about how business and community leaders are most likely to grasp “right-sizing” and how growing utility spending directly competes with local goals and the health of our local economies. Instinctual appreciation of “waste not-want not” and rural/neighborhood traditions of self sufficiency await to be tapped. In the end, speaking up is not developing a clever strategy and facts go only so far. Once leaders are comfortable with their understandings, they excel speaking with heart felt care for the communities they love.

       Everyone knows a least one, influential community leader to reach out to. All that is required is setting up an in-person meeting, printing out some favorite materials to share and starting a conversation. Leaders have opinions, questions and welcome information. Even more important than a few studied talking points is listening -- making sure you understand the values behind opinions and outstanding questions. Schedule a follow-up meeting to provide answers. There is much economic, moral and environmental fact at disposal [7]. SOUL’s info email address is available to help find resources and answers. Our prior eNewsletters have useful information as well.

List bottom of p. 2,    
2. Wisconsin was ranked #1 in 2015 based on minimal service interruptions by US World & News Report . See p. 37 with link,
3.  US Energy /EIA and other data, p. 40
4.  Wisconsin appeals court rebuffs town of Holland power line challenge,  
5.  CITIZEN JOURNALISM: High-voltage opposition to a power plan
6.  Non-Wires Alternatives Embraced by BPA as it Abandons 80-mile Transmission Line Project    
7. WI's lack of modern energy planning   Discussion of wind power and
     CO2 reduction   Discussion of Lagging Energy Efficiency in WI:   Additional resources are available.


The Reality Behind CHC's Estimated "Savings" 

        In coming eNewsletters, SOUL will assist Wisconsin ratepayers and community leaders more comprehensively understand transmission builders’ supporting claims for Cardinal Hickory Creek [CHC] PSCW Docket 05-CE-146

       First, a look at the potential economic benefits applicants estimate for Cardinal Hickory Creek for Wisconsin electric customers over 40 years, from 2023-2063 [1]. Placing key transmission builder assumptions into logical order:
  • IF Wisconsin electricity use should depart from the current trend since 2007 and start steadily increasing for some reason,
  • AND to keep up with this increasing demand Midwestern states spend additional billions on new power plants, the majority natural gas and;
  • IF Cardinal Hickory Creek and 17 associated expansion lines are built and in operation by 2023 [2];
  • UNDER THESE ASSUMED CONDITIONS, the large, associated electric bill increases in the range of $50-$90 per month would be cushioned 2 to 24 cents per month for the average residential electric customer [3].

        Further, the transmission builders’ application does not show Wisconsin ratepayers what impact CHC would have on their bills if their growth predictions proved to be wrong and electricity use were to remain flat or in decline. This omission is great disservice to ratepayers and our ability to protect our interests.

       Each, unnecessary power line and power plant added under flat and declining use greatly accelerates electric bill increases because, as the PSC states, “...without a growing sales base to absorb those costs, it is likely that customers’ rates will go up [4].”

       If these rate increases and billions in utility expansion costs do not present enough concern, the recent PSC assessment also warns that in addition to the Cardinal Hickory Creek application, transmission builders are planning to propose as many as four more, 345 kV lines (in red) within the next seven years [5].



Economic Benefits are summarized in tables 37-41 pdf numbered p. 70-71 of the CHC Planning Analysis. Economic benefits come in two, dominant forms: “energy savings” by adding capacity to the grid and by delaying improvements to smaller transmission lines. labeled, “reliability/renewal.” To access this key document from the CHC application, visit change the “viewdoc” file name to something useful like, “CHC Planning Analysis,” navigate to a place you would like to store the file on your computer and click “Save.”

2. For a list of other transmission lines the transmission builders assume will be built across the Midwest, see Figure 3: RGOS Wind Zones and Candidate MVPs, pdf numbered p.17 of the Panning Analysis, As of January, 2018 five of the seventeen projects were in service. See chart with links pdf p. 39,
3. For data sources, see descriptions at the bottom of the overview graphic for this article. Either click on the graphic to enlarge it or access it here:

4. PSC Wisconsin, Strategic Energy Assessment 2024 ‒ Draft, pdf numbering p.50  

5. PSC Wisconsin, Strategic Energy Assessment 2024 ‒ Draft, Map: p.39, Table A-1 p.100 For other expansion transmission projects that have been recently considered by regional utilities for WI and other Midwest states, pdf p. 28,




        In August of 2011, the Vernon County Board of Supervisors was the first government unit to adopt a Resolution designed by knowledgable electrical engineers asking transmission builders and the PSC of WI to tell Wisconsin electric customers the benefits we would receive if the same millions of dollars utility interests want us to spend on an expansion transmission line over 40 years was invested, instead, in energy efficiency, modern load management and developing local power resources.  Cost-benefit comparison of this nature is the definitive industry means of evaluated need for a high capacity transmission line, and, increasingly, expansion transmission line proposals across the US are failing to meet the test.  

       More than 120 local governments and 15 Wisconsin lawmakers followed Vernon County's example increasing public awareness for transmission builders to finally oblige and include the first Non-Transmission Alternative in a utility proposal in Wisconsin in 20 years.  For all seven expansion lines previously approved in Wisconsin, transmission builders provided only comparisons of transmission build options despite requirements under the Wisconsin Environmental Protection Act.

       The Alternative can be found in SECTION 5.3 staring on pdf page 30 of the Cardinal Hickory Creek (CHC) Planning Analysis. 

       Departing from requests made by Wisconsin lawmakers and the resolutions, the applicants have under-estimated CHC 40 year costs, emphasized utility-scale over local renewable development and restricted investment in energy efficiency.  On the plus side, the transmission builders recognized the value of modern load management for the first time in Wisconsin as well as the role distributed generation including household, business and agricultural solar in shaping Wisconsin's energy future.
         Intervenors opposing CHC, including SOUL of Wisconsin, will be hiring nationally-recognized specialists to critique the applicants' NTA as well as propose differing blends of non-transmission resources to realize substantially greater monetary savings and CO2 reductions.   

       Such accomplishments do not happen without an enormous amount legwork, education and persistence. Consider taking moment to thank one or more of the following individuals for their assistance in making the need for improvement apparent to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and transmission builders. 


State Representative Terese Berceau
State Representative Jill Billings
State Representative Edward Brooks
State Representative Dave Considine
State Representative Steve Doyle
State Senator Jon Erpenbach
State Representative Diane Hesselbein
State Senator Howard Marklein
State Representative Lee Nerison
State Representative Todd Novak
State Representative Sondy Pope
State Senator Jennifer Shilling
State Representative Travis Tranel
State Senator Kathleen Vinehout
Former State Senator Dale Schultz
Former State Representative Fred Clark
Former State Representative Chris Danou 

The ability to First, a look at the potential economic benefits applicants estimate for Cardinal Hickory Creek for Wisconsin electric customers over 40 years, from 2023-2063 [1]. Placing key transmission builder assumptions into logical order:


Harnessing Our Local
Energy Futures

Dodgeville March 2 Energy Forum 


Complete, Live Stream Recording with Discussion

Session I
Meeting Our Priorities with Household and Local Solutions

Session II
Shortfalls in Transmission Review Process and Busting Utility Myths

Session III
Confronting the Harmful Land and Economic Impacts of Transmission Expansion

Evening Speakers

Pat Raimer
Trustee, Village of Montfort, WI 

Keryn Newman
StopPATH WV, Shepherdstown, WV
Participation, Politics, and Public Opinion

Dave Clutter
Driftless Area Land Conservancy, Dodgeville, WI
Protecting the Natural Habitats and Local Economies of the Driftless Area from Unnecessary Transmission Expansion

Bill Powers
Powers Engineering, San Diego, CA
Local-Based Energy Futures and the Obstacle of Transmission Expansion



The grid to nowhere

An argument against building giant transmission lines


MARCH 1, 2018





Tips for Staying Cool
and Avoiding


Hot weather is officially upon us. The dollars we commit to new transmission and fossil fuel generation are influenced by our use during during peak hours from 11am to 6pm during the hottest days of the year. Fossil fuel generation and CO2 output are also at peak during these hours.

 If you are accustomed to air conditioning, turn your unit on early in the morning and run it steadily until 11 am.  If possible leave it off until 6pm.  Electric hot water tanks are another appliance to keep off from 11am to 6pm. Take showers at night.

If you are the resilient type, a fan and a damp washcloth might be all the technology you need to be perfectly comfortable.  The basement is good place to escape with book or for a hot afternoon nap. Outdoor kids pools can lower your body temperature very comfortably. Fans use much less energy but they cool skin, not furniture or walls. Town off the fans when you leave the room.  

Open your house at night and cool it down. A thermometer that shows indoor and outdoor temperature is a good investment, Exhaust or push the hot air out with a fan on the 2nd floor. Close the house up early in the morning before it gets hot.  Close the window blinds to keep the sunlight from heating up the interior. When your house is in closed up mode, take care to not leave bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans running. They pull in hot air.

You can monitor the amount of electricity being used in the Midwest in real time. Our last peak use was 127,000 MW. Share these tips with friends and family,  Every house makes a difference.




TUES., June 19

Grandstay Hotel

175 Lillehammer Lane
Mt. Horeb, WI

Regarding activities pertaining to opposition to the Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission line. Contact Kerry Beheler


1:00 PM

Arena Town Hall
Highway 14, Arena, WI


Join representatives from the Towns of Arena, Clyde. Wyoming (Iowa Co,);  Lima,  (Grant Co.); Belmont (Lafayette Co.); Stark [Vernon Co.]; Vermont (Dane Co.)  and the Village of Montfort (Grant Co.)

Topics Include:
Understanding the CHC Application and
Intervention Options for local governments.

Membership in the Inter-Municipal Energy Planning Committee [IMEPC] is open to all county and municipal governments . Visitors are also welcome. Contact Chair, Karen Carlock for more information.. 


Celebrate the

June 30

Bike, hike, or walk Military Ridge State Trail Morning before joining the rally in the lawn of GrandStay Hotel in Mount Horeb, WI.  Directions See friendslisten to great music, and enjoy local food and beer.  More infor at




Thursday, June 28 
6:30 pm 

Organic Valley Headquarters
1 Organic Way

La Farge, WI 

Join us in person or by conference phone call for individual reports, requests and lots of business pertaining to defeaing CHC. Contact SOUL to receive phone-in information.


PSC Welcomes Comments on Draft Energy Futures Assessment

The SEA is a study that profiles the state's electric system including past and future electric energy needs and sources of supply, electric rates and bills, and the availability, reliability, and sustainability of Wisconsin's electric energy supply. 

The Commission encourages all interested persons to comment on the content of the draft SEA during the 90- day comment period. Comments will be used to prepare the final SEA.

Comments may be submitted in any of the following ways:

Web Comment. Go to the Commission's web site at, click on "File a Comment" button. On the next page, select the "File a comment" link that appears for docket number 5-ES-109.

Oral Comment. The Commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. on the first floor, Room S105 at the Hill Farms Office Building, 4822 Madison Yards Way, Madison, Wisconsin. Spoken and written comments may be submitted during the hearing.

Mail Comment. All comments submitted by U.S. mail shall be received no later than July 25, 2018. A mail comment shall include the phrase "5-ES-109 Comments" in the heading, and shall be addressed to:

Docket 5-ES-109 Comments Public Service Commission P.O. Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854


Public Intervenor

6 PM

Granda Mary's Cafe
Highway 14

Four experienced Public Intervenor will be answering questions and describing activities they conducted while representing their substantial interests in utility cases before the Public Service of Wisconsin.

All individuals, governmental units, businesses, and organizations with a substantial interest in a case before the state of Wisconsin, including the Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission proposal have the right to intervene. 

For more information, contact David Giffey 






Tuesday, June 26
6 pm
Platteville Public Library 
225 W. Main St


Come and learn about a number of on-going activities addressing the health and beauty of Grant County's natural and human made assets  For more information, contact Dave and Donna Swanson at GCRS or GCRS Facebook



Are You Fully Exploiting the Powers of your Household?

Discover clever, low-cost ways to become a 21st Century Load Defector to save money, slash emissions and live with cleaner conscience. 

 If your household electric bill is greater than 700 kilowatt hours, per month, it's likely you can make significant improvements. Learn more about the energy and emission savings tips and email SOUL for your personalized, online tracking sheet to record your monthly progress. See CONTEST  tor households tracking use frm  May 2017 to May 2018. .
20th Century Utility Assumptions Failing Ratepayers in 21st Century

Article by  David Roberts explaining causes for skyrocketing cost increases and unwitting liabilities utilities are bringing upon electric customers as they refuse to embrace cost-effective solutions. Companion article  by Roberts' provides an overview of New York State's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program in which the NY PSC ordered utilities to apply $200,000 towards energy efficiency, local power and load management instead of spending $1 billion upgrading an older substation. See also Sept 2016 progress report on the initiative.
LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP to support ratepayer energy investment priorities is only $5!  Membership numbers are especially important when SOUL intervenes in utility cases and seeks funding for engineers and other experts.  Consider two or more memberships for your family. Donations above the $5 fee are tax deductible. Join online here or mail a check to SOUL of Wisconsin, PO Box 146, La Farge, WI 54639 
Copyright © 2018 Wisconsin Energy Awareness Initiative, All rights reserved.

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