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Controversial $580M power line put into service in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A controversial high-voltage power line across western Wisconsin has been put into service after almost three years of construction.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the 180-mile, $580 million Badger Coulee line went into service Wednesday. It's a joint venture of American Transmission Co. and utilities including Xcel Energy and Dairyland Power Cooperative.

Supporters say the line running from Holmen to Middleton will enable clean and cheap wind energy from Minnesota and Iowa to reach big cities where there's demand.

Opponents consider it an unnecessary expense that guarantees profits for the owners while discouraging conservation and local renewable energy investments.

Wisconsin ratepayers will cover about $87 million of the costs, which are shared among customers in 15 Midwestern states and one Canadian province.

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