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ATC studies possible line carrying electricity from La Crosse to Madison

Three companies have spent the last year studying the idea of putting an electric transmission line from La Crosse to Madison.

But now, the American Transmission Co., says it's considering an even bigger line along the same route.

And it would carry green electricity made by wind power in the Great Plains.

ATC president John Procario says his firm is looking at a 765,000 volt line, more than twice as powerful as any existing power line in Wisconsin.

ATC has joined Excel Energy and the Dairyland Power Cooperative in studying a La Crosse-to-Madison line over the past year.

And Procario says his company would also work with Xcel on its newest proposal. He did not give a cost estimate.

Charlie Higley of the Citizens Utility Board, which represents electric consumes, says a 765,000 volt line would be hard to justify.

Xcel got Minnesota's approval this year to build a transmission line from Rochester to La Crosse.

And ATC is considering an upgrade to a 345,000-volt power line in eastern Wisconsin, which could tie itself to high-tech windmills along Lake Michigan.