From an article by Mary Juhl in the La Crosse Tribune:
WINONA, Minn. - The Wisconsin Public Service Commission isn't convinced the La Crosse-area population will increase enough to justify a proposed $450 million, 345-kilovolt transmission line.
The proposed CapX2020 line would extend about 150 miles from Hampton, Minn., to the La Crosse area, crossing the Mississippi River at Alma and ending at a new substation near Holmen. Construction would begin in 2013, with the line in service by 2015.
The Public Service Commission, a state regulatory agency, released a preliminary review of the project this week that questioned some CapX2020 projections.
"The applicants state that the growing demand for electricity in the La Crosse/Winona area would exceed the capabilities of the existing electrical system to deliver power reliably under contingency conditions," the agency stated in its report. "At this time, that conclusion is still being questioned."
CapX2020 officials have projected the demand for electricity in the Winona and La Crosse area to increase significantly over the next 20 years, by 1.7 percent annually. Referencing its own data, the Public Service Commission says that estimate is high because projected population growth has slowed.