Bayfield Second Circuit Transmission Project

Estimated in-service date: 2020
Voltage: 34.5 kV line
Estimated length: 19 to 22 miles (depending on route selected)

The proposed Bayfield Second Circuit Transmission project includes a new 19-22 mile 34.5 kilovolt (kV) transmission line and two new substations. The proposed transmission line would run from a new Fish Creek Substation about four miles west of the City of Ashland to a new Pikes Creek Substation about two miles west of the City of Bayfield, Wisconsin.  The western route options include an additional 2.5 to 3.5 mile 34.5 kV line connecting to the City of Washburn. View maps below.

The company is planning to submit an application for a Certificate of Authority to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) in June or July of 2018 seeking approval for the project. The application will include at least two route alternatives. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the State Historic Preservation office will review and provide input on the route alternatives. The PSCW will select the final route. If approved, construction is expected to begin in 2019, with an estimated in-service date in 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Routing Workshop

Xcel Energy is hosting a routing workshop on April 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Harbor View Event Center. The purpose of the workshop is for residents on any of the alternative transmission line segments to get an in depth look at what goes into routing a new line, including data analysis, state criteria and more. Residents will be asked weigh in on the proposed routes. If you are interested in participating please plan on attending the entire session, which will begin with a presentation on project details and goals for the workship followed by breaking out into small working groups. Pizza will be provided. A public open house is also being planned for late April or early May to provide another opportunity for residents to learn about the project.

Project Routing Workshop
April 4 - 5-8 p.m.
Harbor View Event Center
130 Harbor View Drive
Washburn, MN

To participate in the routing workshop please RSVP to Ellen Heine at with your name and address.

Project Need

Electricity is currently provided to communities on the east side of the Bayfield Peninsula via a single existing 34.5 kilovolt transmission line that was built between 1957 and 1971 (46 to 60 years old). The existing line connects the Gingles Substation south of Ashland and the Cornucopia Substation. Any failure on the line south of Bayfield or Washburn results in power outages to those communities as there is not a back-up transmission line in the area. The existing system experiences low voltages during peak usage days. The proposed Bayfield Second Circuit Project would increase reliability and solve voltage concerns by providing an additional source of electricity to the area. This second source of power helps ensure that power remains on should the existing transmission line be damaged or require maintenance.

For more information on project need, please view the planning report. 

Outreach and Participation

In August of 2017 Xcel Energy presented a single proposed alignment for the Bayfield Second Circuit to the Bayfield County Board and at a public open house.  After receiving feedback on the August alignment Xcel Energy proposed additional route segments and another route alignment for the project. Mailings including property specific maps and comment forms were sent to all landowners adjacent to any of those new alignments in November 2017.  Xcel Energy project team members have attended several county and town board meetings and meetings hosted by the Bayfield Peninsula Energy Alternatives group to provide information about the project and answer questions. 

To assist in evaluation and comparison all potential routes have been split into smaller segments based on location and/or construction type (single circuit vs. double circuit) and given a number. Double circuiting is shown in some segments along the existing 34.5 kV transmission line and would  involve constructing new poles (structures) and attaching the new and existing lines (both circuits) on opposite sides of the same poles; Parallel segments would be separate from, but parallel to, the existing 34.5 kV transmission line. For segments where there are existing distribution lines the transmission alignment follows the distribution alignment.  The distribution would either be underbuilt (built on the same poles beneath the transmission line), or buried in the same alignment.

The project team continues to work with internal and external stakeholders to evaluate alternatives as we work toward developing two final route alternatives.  Your input is important. Please consider participating in the routing work group or attending the upcoming open house.  You can also review the materials and provide comments by filling out the project comment form or by sending us an email at the contacts listed below.

Interactive Project Map

The interactive map below includes all of the potential route segments currently being considered.  Several combinations of individual segments are possible to connect the new Fish Creek Substation to the new Pikes Creek Substation.  The tabs on the top show each combination of segments that make up a complete route from Fish Creek Substation to Pikes Creek Substation.  The numbers are not intended to represent an order of preference, only to differentiate segment combinations.  To zoom to a specific location you can type in an address in the search box or use the + and – buttons to zoom in or out.

Proposed Project Timeline

2018 - Submit Certificate of Authority to Wisconsin Public Service Commission
2018 - Begin land rights acquisition (pending project approval)
2019 - Begin construction
2020 - Estimated in-service date

Contact Us

If you have questions or comments on the Bayfield Second Circuit Transmission Project you can contact:

Ellen Heine
Sr. Land Agent

Additional Information


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