ATC buys land for Foxconn substation from Mount Pleasant

Village profit to cover infrastructure costs

Aerial photo of site preparation work at the Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant. - Photo shot by Curt Waltz of

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 pm

Pewaukee-based American Transmission Co. bought 33 acres of land from the village of Mount Pleasant for a substation to provide power to Foxconn Technology Group’s planned $10 billion LCD manufacturing campus.

Aerial photo of site preparation work at the Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant. – Photo shot by Curt Waltz of

The land, located on the east side of Highway H between Braun Road and Highway KR, is part of a $117 million transmission project ATC plans to build between Pleasant Prairie and Racine to support the Foxconn project.

ATC paid the village $2.42 million for the land, about $73,000 per acre. The price represents a $770,000 increase over the roughly $50,000 per acre the village paid in acquiring the land earlier this year.

“We have appreciated the opportunity to work closely with ATC on their plans for a substation serving the Foxconn project,” Claude Lois, Mount Pleasant project director, said in a statement. “The village’s sale price to ATC incorporates both the village’s acquisition costs for the land, as well as the costs the village will incur for the public infrastructure serving the site.”

Alissa Braatz, an ATC spokeswoman, said in an email the project remains on an accelerated schedule.

“We anticipate approval of the project from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin this fall and following that, we will begin construction in late 2018,” she said.

Sarah Justus, ATC director of construction, said at a recent Waukesha County Business Alliance event the utility is taking what would typically be a four to seven year project and trying to complete it in two years to meet Foxconn’s aggressive timelines.

Foxconn’s 22-million-square-foot facility will require 230 megawatts of electricity initially, enough to power 170,000 households and six times the power needed by the next largest manufacturing facility in the state. Additional development in the area around Foxconn could require another 200 megawatts of power.

To support the increased demand, ATC submitted plans to the state Public Service Commission to build a new substation in Mount Pleasant, 1.2 miles of transmission lines to connect to existing lines and upgrades to those lines from Racine to Pleasant Prairie.

ATC initially estimated the project would cost $140 million, but the utility refined its plans and reduced the cost to around $117 million to $120 million.

Critics of the project, however, have objected to spreading the costs to all ratepayers in the state. Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman pushed the common council to authorize the city attorney to seek to intervene in the PSC case.

Milwaukee was granted intervenor status, but PSC staff has indicated the case revolves around determinations needed for a certificate of public convenience and necessity.

“The method of allocation of the costs of the project is governed by applicable Federal Energy Regulatory Commission tariffs and is therefore not within the scope of the stipulated issue in this proceeding,” Andrew Cardon, PSC assistant general counsel, wrote in a March 19 memo.

The commission scheduled public hearings in the case on June 21 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the SC Johnson iMet Center in Sturtevant. Members of the general public can comment on the case at those times and another hearing for parties to the case is set for June 26.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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