Dear Editor: Spencer Black’s column about the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line misses the forest for the trees. Achieving a clean energy future with low-cost, renewable electricity fundamentally depends on new transmission lines. Not only does Mr. Black overstate the land-use and property rights impacts (the line is routed almost entirely along existing highways and next to current power lines), and grossly overstate costs (this line’s benefits flow throughout the Midwest, so the region shares its cost, leaving Wisconsin customers about $67 million in project costs rather than the “billions” Mr. Black states), but he ignores the far greater harm for Wisconsin and the Driftless area: our climate crisis.
Cardinal-Hickory Creek is specifically designed to add renewables to the Midwest grid. New wind and solar projects across the region are ready to go — and they are relying on this line. This bears repeating: Thousands of megawatts of future wind and solar development in the Midwest’s best wind and solar resources are at risk without Cardinal-Hickory Creek. Large-scale solar in Wisconsin will also be throttled if the line isn’t built. Even the 300-megawatt Badger Hollow project was approved for grid connection on the basis that Cardinal Hickory Creek will be there. That’s why there is broad support from clean energy organizations and the renewables industry across the Midwest.
While there are land-use impacts from any large infrastructure project, these impacts pale in comparison to climate change. Clean energy transmission like Cardinal Hickory Creek is a fundamental part of the solution.
Senior director of energy markets, Fresh Energy
St. Paul, Minnesota
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