Bipartisan progress on clean energy: approval of major transmission line project

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Expect many more megawatts hours of clean energy soon to move through the Midwest.

Wisconsin regulators voted yesterday to initially approve the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line, a 120-mile long project designed to improve grid reliability and support the greater integration of renewable energy throughout the region.

In a bi-partisan decision, all three members of the Public Service Commission (Wisconsin’s version of the Public Utilities Commission) unanimously indicated support to approve construction of Cardinal-Hickory Creek.

Fresh Energy has been a vocal proponent of the project, intervening with partners to file expert public testimony in support of the line and working with clean energy partners across the state to build momentum and public knowledge of the many benefits of the project. Cardinal-Hickory Creek will allow more clean energy to flow through the region and will support the development of additional wind and solar projects—to the tune of thousands of megawatts of clean, homegrown energy.

Cardinal-Hickory Creek is the 17th new transmission project in Wisconsin approved in the last decade. Fresh Energy also intervened on the last major transmission line project, Badger Coulee, and is optimistic about the future of clean energy infrastructure built at scale in the Midwest. Minnesota’s largest utilities have increasingly recognized the importance of modern transmission lines to meet ever-increasing renewable energy targets.

Fresh Energy’s senior director of energy markets and regulatory affairs, Allen Gleckner, issued the following statement in response:

“Our region needs clean energy at scale and a modern transmission system capable of carrying that energy to our homes and businesses. Cardinal-Hickory Creek is a critical component in addressing the climate crisis. The Public Service Commission made the right choice in signaling approval of its construction.”