EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A proposed transmission connection could bring more energy to communities in Western Wisconsin. As First News at Nine’s Daniel Gomez explains more input is needed before any ground is broken for the project.
Community members arrive at the 29 Pines in Eau Claire to hear a proposal from Xcel Energy. Randy Fordice with Xcel says, “Having another strong transmission connection in this region that connects to existing transmission lines and substations will enable us to deliver power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed.”
The transmission line starts in Trempealeau County with two proposed routes connecting to a substation that goes from Superior to the Madison area. Fordice explains, “So, we’ve got visual simulations. We can kind of explain what the difference between what may be a smaller line that’s on their property now to what the larger infrastructure will look like if they’re built together on the same pole, what the impacts of agriculture may be and things like that.”
The proposed Western Wisconsin Transmission Connection Project from Xcel Energy could impact communities in the Chippewa Valley. That is why there are public forums so that community members could have direct communication with Xcel Energy representatives to voice any concerns that they may have.
Melissa Rasmus attended one of the forums on Tuesday. And stood outside Wednesday’s forum in Eau Claire pushing for one of the options. She says, “Xcel had said that petition would be another great avenue. So, I wanted to take that opportunity to support our views of taking Route 2 versus Route 1. We need progress. We need electricity. I understand all of those things.”
Diane Peters and her husband Roger live along the proposed Route 1 in the village of Lake Hallie. Diane says, “We think that it would be wise to go with Option 2 as Option 1 seems to affect a lot more people. Option 2 would be further away from our house, which is what we’re concerned about.”
Mike Dodge is from the town of Seymour with power lines already running in his backyard. He says, “I don’t know what possible dangers that would be. I got three small children and I don’t know, I just want to keep them safe. I asked them why it couldn’t be buried underneath, and they said, there’s a lot more money to do that.”
Xcel reps tell those who attend the forums to submit a written comment with the route they prefer. There are also more public forums coming up. Fordice says the project is still years away from even breaking ground.