Upgrade planned for Twin Falls Dam


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – The Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin is currently seeking public comment regarding the environmental impacts of We Energies’ plan to replace its 100-year-old powerhouse at the Twin Falls Dam on the Menominee River.

PSC Communications Director Kristin Ruesch said that comments will be used in preparing a draft environmental assessment.

Comments will also be sought on the completed draft environmental assessment, she added.

PSC can approve, deny, or modify We Energies’ proposal.

Brian Manthey of We Energies explained that filing the proposal with PSC is a step in the process toward obtaining a certificate of authority to build the powerhouse. We Energies has also filed the proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

According to Manthey, We Energies anticipates final regulatory decisions by the end of this year. If they are favorable, construction on the project could begin in the spring of 2014.

The project consists of replacing the current powerhouse on the Michigan side of the river, located in Breitung Township, with a new powerhouse on the Wisconsin side of the river, located in Spread Eagle, Wis.

Features would include:

– New turbine generators, which will increase the installed capacity from 6.1 megawatts to 9 megawatts.

– A new 720-foot generator tie line that will cross the river to connect the generators to the existing substation.

– Additional spillways.

In its proposal to the PSC, We Energies asserts that the new powerhouse location will support fishery enhancements and improve recreation opportunities on both sides of the river.

Manthey added that We Energies will continue to manage the river flow as it does now. The impoundment and water levels will not be affected.

Public comments on the environmental impacts of the project can be mailed to Paul Rahn, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7854, Madison, WI, 53707-7854; e-mailed to paul.rahn@wisconsin.gov; or sent via an electronic form on the PSC website at psc.wi.gov/apps/dockets/comment.aspx.

Please include the commission docket number 6630-CE-308 in any correspondence.

All comments are due by Feb. 8.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.