By Amanda Durish Cook
FERC last week authorized both ITC Midwest and American Transmission Co. to recover all of their “prudently incurred costs” if the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project is abandoned or canceled for reasons beyond their control (ER19-355, ER19-360). Both companies filed for the rate incentive in November.
“We agree that the project faces certain regulatory, environmental and siting risks that are beyond the control of management and which could lead to abandonment of the project,” FERC said.
The commission said the $500 million project meets the criteria for the abandoned plant incentive because it had been found to enhance reliability and reduce congestion through MISO’s annual Transmission Expansion Plan.
One of MISO’s 2011 multi-value projects, the 345-kV line will consist of 102 to 120 miles of transmission from southern Wisconsin to eastern Iowa with multiple substation updates. The project is intended to transport wind power and lessen the burden on existing 345-kV and 138-kV lines in the area.
Construction of the line is currently in a holding pattern because of the ongoing partial federal government shutdown. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that six public meetings Jan. 22-29 regarding the line’s environmental impact have been canceled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service had been conducting an environmental review of the line before the shutdown. The meetings cannot be rescheduled until the government reopens.