Foxconn electricity needs require $140 million in upgrades, ATC says

Plant would require new substation in Mount Pleasant

American Transmission Co. plans to make $140 million in upgrades to its power line system between Racine and Pleasant Prairie to meet increased electrical demand from Foxconn and related development.

The project would include a new substation to serve Foxconn’s Mount Pleasant campus, new electric transmission lines and modifications to existing transmission lines, structures and substations, according to a description of the project posted on the utility’s website.

Foxconn’s 22-million-square-foot LCD facility is projected to require 230 megawatts initially, enough to power 170,000 households and up to six times more electricity than the next largest manufacturing facility in the state.

The utility plans to submit plans for the project in February and will request approval by August. Under that timeline, construction could begin in late 2018 or early 2019 with new transmission lines and substation in service by late 2019 or early 2020.

Foxconn is aiming to have its first assembly plant, which would be at least 1.5 million square feet, operational by early 2019. Alissa Braatz, an ATC spokeswoman, said the We Energies distribution system would be able to handle the electrical load Foxconn needs prior to ATC’s in-service date.

The substation would be built on the east side of Highway H, south of Braun Road. It would require 1.2 miles of new right-of-way to connect to the existing transmission lines and two route alternatives have been developed. The Mount Pleasant substation would be connected to Foxconn’s on-site power station by 400 feet of underground transmission lines

Plans also call for the addition of a second 345-kilovolt transmission circuit to the existing transmission line between Racine and Mount Pleasant. Crews would replace 19 structures along the route, but no new right-of-way would be required.

ATC says the project’s $140 million cost would be spread across roughly 5 million residential customers over a 40-year period. That would amount to about 70 cents per year.

Getting power to Foxconn’s campus, which the company projects could ultimately employ 13,000 people, is just one of the infrastructure challenges related to the project.

Mount Pleasant and Racine officials are working on a plan to bring Lake Michigan water to the facility. The communities hope to submit a straddling community diversion request to the state Department of Natural Resources by Feb. 1, Keith Haas, Racine Water and Wastewater Utilities general manager said in an email.

Jim Dick, a DNR spokesman, said the department would need at least 90 days to review the request. Depending on the exact amount of water the plant needs, it could trigger a review by the other Great Lakes states.

The roadways around the plant will also require upgrades. The state Department of Transportation is planning $134 million in upgrades to local roads, including the incorporation of autonomous vehicle lanes. The department is also seeking $246.2 million in federal grant funding to go with state bonding included in the Foxconn special session legislation to complete the expansion of Interstate 94 North-South.

A federal Department of Transportation spokeswoman said in late November no date had been set for a determination on the grant funding.

American Transmission Co. plans to make $140 million in upgrades to its power line system between Racine and Pleasant Prairie to meet increased electrical demand from Foxconn and related development.

The project would include a new substation to serve Foxconn’s Mount Pleasant campus, new electric transmission lines and modifications to existing transmission lines, structures and substations, according to a description of the project posted on the utility’s website.

Foxconn’s 22-million-square-foot LCD facility is projected to require 230 megawatts initially, enough to power 170,000 households and up to six times more electricity than the next largest manufacturing facility in the state.

The utility plans to submit plans for the project in February and will request approval by August. Under that timeline, construction could begin in late 2018 or early 2019 with new transmission lines and substation in service by late 2019 or early 2020.

Foxconn is aiming to have its first assembly plant, which would be at least 1.5 million square feet, operational by early 2019. Alissa Braatz, an ATC spokeswoman, said the We Energies distribution system would be able to handle the electrical load Foxconn needs prior to ATC’s in-service date.

The substation would be built on the east side of Highway H, south of Braun Road. It would require 1.2 miles of new right-of-way to connect to the existing transmission lines and two route alternatives have been developed. The Mount Pleasant substation would be connected to Foxconn’s on-site power station by 400 feet of underground transmission lines

Plans also call for the addition of a second 345-kilovolt transmission circuit to the existing transmission line between Racine and Mount Pleasant. Crews would replace 19 structures along the route, but no new right-of-way would be required.

ATC says the project’s $140 million cost would be spread across roughly 5 million residential customers over a 40-year period. That would amount to about 70 cents per year.

Getting power to Foxconn’s campus, which the company projects could ultimately employ 13,000 people, is just one of the infrastructure challenges related to the project.

Mount Pleasant and Racine officials are working on a plan to bring Lake Michigan water to the facility. The communities hope to submit a straddling community diversion request to the state Department of Natural Resources by Feb. 1, Keith Haas, Racine Water and Wastewater Utilities general manager said in an email.

Jim Dick, a DNR spokesman, said the department would need at least 90 days to review the request. Depending on the exact amount of water the plant needs, it could trigger a review by the other Great Lakes states.

The roadways around the plant will also require upgrades. The state Department of Transportation is planning $134 million in upgrades to local roads, including the incorporation of autonomous vehicle lanes. The department is also seeking $246.2 million in federal grant funding to go with state bonding included in the Foxconn special session legislation to complete the expansion of Interstate 94 North-South.

A federal Department of Transportation spokeswoman said in late November no date had been set for a determination on the grant funding.

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