it. There’s nothing sexy about investing
in “under-the-hood” or “down-in-the-basement” repairs and maintenance. Yet,
such investments are necessary for the
successful operation of your home or car. Similarly, it’s necessary to invest
in our “behind the light switch” infrastructure in order to maintain the
integrity of our electric system and ensure the reliable delivery of the
lowest-cost energy sources to our citizens.
MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, has determined that the proposed
Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line is a necessary improvement to the
Midwest grid that will facilitate reliability, a robust energy market and help
deliver clean energy to homes and businesses.
Wind energy is cost competitive right now. The cost of wind is down 67 percent over the
last seven years, and some of the best wind resources in America are available
here in the Midwest. While Wisconsin has less installed wind capacity compared
to many of its neighbors, more wind and solar resources are being developed in Wisconsin.
And Wisconsin residents benefit from an efficient electric grid with robust
amounts of carbon free renewables that will lower wholesale electricity prices.
Most of America’s transmission lines are more than 50 years old,
and more than 640,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines across the
country are at full capacity. As a
result, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our electric
infrastructure a D+ on their American
Infrastructure Report Card last year. Balancing “needs” with “wants” can present a
difficult struggle. In this case, however,
we can have both. If we spend money on upgrading our transmission systems we
can simultaneously enable the delivery of more clean, low-cost renewable energy
– something that 83
percent of Americans believe is a top or important priority for the
country’s energy policies.
The Cardinal Hickory Creek Transmission line will help facilitate
the Midwest’s clean energy transition while offering reliability and energy
security. Over 1,700 megawatts of wind energy being developed in Minnesota,
South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa are depending on this transmission line to
bring clean, low-cost, home-grown energy to the electric grid.
The Midcontinent Independent Transmission System
Operator (MISO) approved 17 high-voltage transmission lines in December 2011
that would improve the reliability and flexibility of the electric grid in nine
Midwestern states. The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line is the last of
these Multi-Value Projects to move through the approval process. Connecting renewable
energy in Iowa and Wisconsin with the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line will
improve reliability and increase the capability to deliver low-cost wind resources;
relieve congestion, which will also help reduce energy costs; and provide other
economic benefits. This line also saves
approximately $151 million by eliminating the need to upgrade 13
other lower-voltage transmission projects.
MISO also determined that no other transmission alternative will be as
cost-effective as this project in connecting Northwestern Iowa with
Southeastern and south central Wisconsin, and non-transmission alternatives are
costs represent a small percentage of your monthly utility bill. Phillip Moeller, Executive Vice President of
the Edison Electric Institute and former FERC Commissioner said that on
average, only about 11 percent of the total amount of a customer’s electric
bill is related to transmission costs.
Modern life is moving toward
electrification. Electricity doesn’t just heat our
homes and cook our food anymore. It is
powering our homes, cars, and all the nifty gadgets that we just can’t live
without and improves the quality of our lives in ways we never could have
imagined even a decade ago. At the same
time, the public is demanding that our electricity generation sources become
cleaner; and cheaper, too. Wind energy is
able to respond to this call. And, the
Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line will deliver.