ST. PAUL, MINN. (March 22, 2022) – The Federal District Court's recent ruling prohibiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from approving the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line crossing in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, and that the environmental impact statements by the U.S. Department of Agrculture requires changes is misguided.
Clean Grid Alliance Executive Director Beth Soholt issued the following statement:
"The Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line project is the last of the 17 Multi-Value Transmission Line projects that were approved by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator in 2011. We have been waiting for – and needing – this line for over 10 years. With 114 generation projects, including 108 totaling more than 17 gigawatts of renewable generation that are dependent on its construction (including 1.5 gigawatts of renewable generation from WI), the line is needed more than ever. Cardinal-Hickory Creek has undergone exhaustive study and review by all the required agencies. This unnecessary litigation is holding up the delivery of clean, low-cost renewable energy in Wisconsin and across the Midwest. There are four proposed wind projects totaling nearly 900 megawatts and another 300 megawatt solar project that are dependent upon the completion of this line, just in Wisconsin.
"Furthermore, this project is critical in supporting the massive amount of renewable energy being developed in Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas. Without this line, renewable energy developers may be subject to curtailments, which could prevent them from delivering their full generation capacity. While this project is currently on track to be completed by December 2023, any further delays, or if this project does not move forward, energy consumers will ultimately pay the price through the loss of millions of dollars in jobs and economic benefits the project is expected to deliver over its 40-year life.
"We cannot stand in the way of delivering the clean energy future the country demands. Cardinal-Hickory Creek provides a critical backbone for the clean energy transition in Wisconsin and the Midwest."
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Clean Grid Alliance (CGA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., whose mission is to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. Launched in 2001, CGA has been an active stakeholder in the MISO process at the state and regional levels and a leading organization working on transforming state energy policy. CGA's membership includes industry representatives working in wind, solar and storage as well as environmental nonprofit organizations, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups, and businesses providing goods and services to the renewable energy industry who come together to reduce carbon and deliver a renewable energy future.