Sept. 23–MADISON — WE Energies will submit final plans to the state this fall, seeking approval to build a pipeline through Walworth County, a company spokeswoman said.
The proposed Lakeshore Lateral Project is meant to provide a “competitive natural gas supply” to southeastern Wisconsin areas seeing economic growth–the planned Foxconn facilities in particular, said Amy Jahns, spokeswoman for WE Energies.
“It (the pipeline) just brings more natural gas capacity to that area,” she said. “It’s an area that’s growing that needs that natural gas. And right now, we just don’t have that supply in that area.”
The project is meant to get more gas flowing to that part of the state, according to the initial project application WE Energies filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in May.
“The primary purpose of this project is to increase the quantity and reliability of natural gas service, both on a peak day and annually, in southeastern Wisconsin given projected load growth, planned distribution facility modifications, and pipeline capacity alternatives serving southern Wisconsin,” the application states.
In deciding on the final proposed route, Jahns said, the considerations surrounded safety, natural resources, environmental features, future land development, agriculture, construction requirements and project costs.
Route B, the more northern option, would cost $196.21 million. Route A is projected to be cheaper at $187.16 million, according to the application.
Customers would pay for this project through their rates, Jahns said.
If the process moves through as planned, construction would begin in spring 2020 and end in fall 2021, Jahns said. These dates are slightly different than the May application, which lists summer 2020 through June 2021.
A Haribo gummy bear factory planned for Kenosha County is another example of economic growth in the area beyond Foxconn, Jahns said.
Some municipalities in Walworth County that could see the pipeline built through them include the towns of East Troy, La Grange, Lyons, Sugar Creek, Troy and Spring Prairie; the village of East Troy; and the cities of Elkhorn and Burlington.
The 49-mile pipeline would start at the Bluff Creek Gate Station in La Grange and end in Mount Pleasant in Racine County, where the Foxconn plant is being built. There are two proposed routes, one that moves by East Troy and another by Elkhorn.
A final route could be different from one of the proposed routes if the commission decides as such, Jahns said.
WE Energies held an open house in East Troy on July 11. Jahns said about 100 people attended, and they were more curious to learn about the “why” behind the project than to speak in opposition to it.
Taking the feedback from the last few months, Jahns said, they will make their final proposal to the commission this fall. From there, the state group will move through the “regulatory process” of approving or making changes to the project.
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