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February 23, 2018

12/7/2016 12:32:00 PM
Cardinal-Hickory Creek line delay?

Dear Editor;
From 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is hosting a scoping meeting at the Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld. RUS will again collect scoping comments for its Environmental Impact Study as it decides on a loan to Dairyland Power Cooperative for a share of project costs. RUS held scoping meetings October 31-November 3, 2016 - why more scoping meetings now?
The Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project stretches from a substation near Peosta, across the Mississippi River and Wisconsin, near Dodgeville, to a substation near Madison. Last April, as reported in this paper, American Transmission Company's Jon Callaway reported that the project schedule had been pushed out to 2018 or beyond. The reasons weren't clear, and should be specified and made part of the RUS record.
Cardinal-Hickory Creek and the under-construction Badger-Coulee transmission lines are MISO's (Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.) MVP project "five" revealed five years ago in MISO's MTEEP 11 report. That was 2011, and it was "postponed" in 2016. Why the delay? MISO's 12.38% rate of return for construction has been successfully challenged in federal court. There's a glut of electricity where even marketing electricity cross country is not alleviating the industry's overproduction. MISO's MVP economic modeling no longer hold under current scenarios. And maybe the delay is that and more!
Now's the time to tell RUS to consider the economics, need and causes of delay in its financing decision. If delay is right for the project developers, RUS should also delay, and put financing on hold.

Carol A. Overland, Esq.
Red Wing, MN

EDITOR'S NOTE: Overland is a Minnesota attorney with 20+ years experience challenging transmission and other utility infrastructure projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin and across the country. This editorial is her opinion as an individual, and she is not representing any party on this matter.





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