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 Community Leader Support For
LOCAL ENERGY FUTURES
 & Non-Transmission Alternatives
at Heart of Cardinal Hickory Creek Defeat


       Last week, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) started the review of the controversial Cardinal Hickory Creek proposal (CHC)1. For the first time in Wisconsin, decision makers at the state agency will be choosing among four options. One option is a customer-friendly alternative whose selection would also prevent an eighth expansion line from disfiguring our state, this time in the Driftless area.

       In numerous reports2, the PSC has warned customers that our electric bills have soared due to a “continuous utility construction cycle” and accumulating long term, high interest debt. For CHC, transmission builders are hiding large expansion costs using piecemeal economics called, “regional cost sharing.” Builders court Wisconsin customers by telling them that 85% of the cost of CHC would be paid by unknowing electric customers in other states, but fail to point out that costs of lines built in other states are shoved onto Wisconsin ratepayers. In Iowa, where utilities reveal some of these expansion costs on electric bills, they amount to 20% of electricity charges3. Since 2005, Wisconsin’s costs under this multi-state shell game have averaged more than $400 million per year 4- seven times more than the cost of efficiency and local power rebates that actually do lower bills and slash CO2 emissions.

 

       Utility commissions in nine states have recognized the advantages of these lower cost incentives and selected Non-Tranmission Alternatives (NTA’s) over the expansion transmission option5. They have rewarded customers for pursuing conservation, efficiency and adding renewables to homes, businesses, farms and communities. They are striving to right-size their states’ electricity needs to avoid power plant and power line expansions that transmission builders’ assume are mandatory.

       Three groups representing public interests in the CHC review have hired nationally acclaimed specialists to craft state-of-the-art NTA options for the PSC commissioners to consider. Compared to the high voltage transmission option, the alternatives provide greater savings and CO2 emission reduction by enabling more homes, farms, businesses and local economies to accelerate conservation, replace inefficient appliances and equipment and develop on-site and community solar. They‘ll include battery storage and load management to prolong the lifespan of Wisconsin’s electrical system which is already rated as one of the most reliable in the US.

      Those expecting the Wisconsin Commissioners’ decision to address climate change will appreciate that PSC review process discerns casual comments heard on TV or read in publicity from statements in the case with evidence. One will not find phrases like, “cheap wind power” or innuendo that CHC would “lower electric bills” in the official application documents.

       In SOUL of Wisconsin’s reading of the high voltage transmission option in the application, transmission builders offer no guarantees of CO2 reductions or savings. This absence sounds an alarm as our state and federal laws provide no way to independently test actual transmission line performance after approval. As with CHC, all seven, prior transmission expansion lines in Wisconsin touted potential energy savings and potential CO2 reductions6. If past outcomes were as promised, the current CHC application would most certainly include them.

       In contrast, the US Department of Energy provides clear evidence that Non-Transmission Alternatives roundly out-perform utility expansion spending7. From 2005 to 2016, 50% of the CO2 emission reductions associated with electricity in the US came from Non-Tranmission Alternatives that lowered overall demand for electricity. The many billions spent developing remote renewables realized only half this reduction (24%), on par with that from coal plant to natural gas power plant conversion (26%).

 
 
       Further, the cost to ratepayers for NTA’s is several times less while guaranteeing maximized CO2 emission reductions and savings flowing to electric customers instead of unproductive, community-debilitating intrusion and long term debt.

       We can’t fix a broken machine by making it bigger.

       The record for public participation in any utility case in Wisconsin is just around 1500 comments.  Regional cost-sharing imbues every person in Wisconsin and across the Midwest the right to encourage the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to achieve a new, higher standard of review. 

       Absolutely, the agency's Environmental/Economic Impact Statement must  throughly assess the many, negative impacts that a high profile, 100-120 mile long high voltage transmission line would impose on the gift we call, The Driftless.  But that is half' the task, hard-working, public colleagues.. The CHC review is the moment  to equally recognize, assess and recommend what is good, generous and forward in our energy vision. The CHC proposal brings to a fork in the road.  We CAN empower our selves, homes, businesses, farms, communities, neighborhoods, state and region to do a lot more than what transmission builders have foreseen. For a lot less.

      If the Driftless is your home, fill up your car and attend the remaining PSC Scoping Meeting (below). If not, begin by posting your first comment using the PSC’s online tool: http://bit.ly/ePORTAL . Over the days of giving ahead, take breaks to talk about about the energy you want-- with neighbors, friends, family and community members. With that additional care and PSC input, both the old record and the old ways will fall.  Scoping input will be accepted until January 4, 2019, but PSC staff has advised that earlier input is easier to accommodate. 
 
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14, Grant Co. Fairgrounds, UWEX Youth & Ag. Center Auditorium, 916 E. Elm St., Lancaster, WI - Identical sessions at 2:00 and 6:00 pm.
SEE ONLINE SCOPING INPUT SUGGESTIONS - LEFT SIDEBAR.

NOTES:
2Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Strategic Energy Assessments, see excerpt, p. 12 http://soulwisconsin.org/Resources/FootnoteHarbour.pdf#page=12
3Alliant Energy-IA, Regional Transmission Service Fee, p. 15 http://soulwisconsin.org/Resources/FootnoteHarbour.pdf#page=15
4Wisconsin Electric Customer Transmission Expansion (MISO MTEP) 2005 -2016 http://soulwisconsin.org/Resources/FootnoteHarbour.pdf#page=27
6List of WI expansion lines with descriptions, http://soulwisconsin.org/Resources/FootnoteHarbour.pdf#page=46


 


 


 Conference Videos
Harnessing Our Local
Energy Futures


From March 2, Dodgeville, Forum 

ON WIS VIDEO HUB 

PRINTED PROGRAM - FEATURED ARTICLES
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

BY  

MARCH 1, 2018


 

 

 


CLICK ON PERSPECTIVE THAT INTERESTS YOU


ELECTRIC CUSTOMER 
 Suggestions in EMAIL
 Suggestions in TEXT

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ePortal



DRIFTLESS NATURE LOVER 
 Suggestions in EMAIL
 Suggestions in TEXT


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PROPERTY OWNER
 Suggestions in EMAIL
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LOCAL ENERGY SUPPORTER
 Suggestions in EMAIL
 Suggestions in TEXT


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AREA RESIDENTS
& TOURISM 

 Suggestions in EMAIL
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ALL OF THE ABOVE
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 Suggestions in TEXT


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ePortal





COMMON CONCERNS IN TRANSMISSION LINE EIS SCOPING 

 Full CHC Scoping Packet





DEADLINE
You can make additional comments any time before January 4, 2019,  but input received before December 15 is easier for PSC Staff to accommodate. You can examine your submitted comments on the official, CHC PSC Docket.


PSC MAIL ADDRESS
 Commenting by email is also supported,
The snail-mail address is:
WI Public Service Commission
05-CE-146 Scoping Input
 4822 Madison Yards Way
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854



CUTTING & PASTING TEXT
Many will find it easier to edit their comments in a text or email program and then copy and paste them, in entirety, into the PSC's on line ePortal comment tool. Here are step by step INSTRUCTIONS.  




 

BILL POWERS

 NON-TRANSMISSION ALTERNATIVE
SPECIALIST


EXPERT WITNESS FOR CARDINAL HICKORY CREEK PROPOSAL 
 


SOUL of Wisconsin has contracted engineer, Bill Powers, a nationally recognized Non-Transmission Alternatives specialist of San Diego CA, to prepare a revolutionary NTA plan tailored for Southwest Wisconsin to out-perform and defeat the high voltage option of the Cardinal Hickory Creek proposal  Blending proven and innovative approaches, Powers' NTA will provide PSC Commissioners exciting, cost effective ways for the state of Wisconsin to launch a new era in energy planning, 

Powers has authored long range energy planning for major metropolitan and geographic areas in the US including San Francisco, North Carolina and San Diego.

 To  reward Powers for many hours of work and the stressful challenges of serving as an expert witness in the interests of all of Wisconsinites, SOUL welcomes donations of all amounts.  Tax exempt donations can be made to the

ENGINEERING FUND

using a credit card or PayPal  or via mail to SOUL of Wisconsin, PO Box 146, La Farge, WI 54639  Phone 608.625.4949 for more information.



 

TRANSMISSION BUILDERS TARGET MORE, HIGH PROFILE Transmission Lines for

NORTHERN WISCONSIN
 

See map on pdf p. 41 of the PSC's newly released Strategic Energy Assessment and more information here (pdf p.28) Now is the time to protect your community with adoption of resolutions and informing your elected local and state officials. Contact the Energy Planning and Information Committee of the Town of Stark for more information and assistance.
 




 

MEETING

TUES., November 27 
1:00 PM


Arena Town Hall
Highway 14, Arena, WI

DIRECTIONS


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

Topics Include:
Understanding the CHC Application, 
Up-Coming PSC Scoping Meetings & Public Participation Presentation

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




 

PSC Release Strategic Energy Assessment 2018-2024
 
Many people desiring the agency to more faithfully represent ratepayer priorities in Wisconsin energy policy and decision-making contributed comments about the PSC's DRAFT Final Strategic Energy Assessment  this summer and it shows!  The Final SEA for 2018-2024. It is now available for download here.  It contains considerably more, in depth analysis of how investment in new power plants and transmission lines has caused our rates and fixed fees to soar to recover the cost on long term, high interest debt.

Pick out a favorite section and make an appointment with a state legislator to go over the significances and to discuss how laws can be improved to avoid the continuation of the excessive spending that is undercutting the competitiveness of Wisconsin businesses and sending dollars to Wall Street that should be going to our communities.
 

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. .


 
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 

 
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.

 
Copyright © 2018 Wisconsin Energy Awareness Initiative, All rights reserved.


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