NIPSCO, MISO: Pioneer’s claims to 765-kV line not valid

The project Pioneer Transmission has claimed it has the right to invest in and construct is not a Midwest ISO-approved multi-value project (MVP), as it claims to be, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) and the Midwest ISO (MISO) said on Feb. 28.

“The project MISO did approve was a much smaller project than Pioneer had proposed,” a NIPSCO spokesperson told TransmissionHub Feb. 28.

Pioneer, a joint venture formed by Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) and American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), on Feb. 8 filed a request that FERC intervene in a dispute over the ownership of “the first segment of the Pioneer Project” (FERC docket EL12-24), which it claimed MISO approved in Appendix A of its most recent transmission expansion plan, MTEP11.

NIPSCO in its reply comments argued that Pioneer’s complaint was fundamentally and factually inaccurate, as it claims rights to a project, the Reynolds-to-Greentown line, that is entirely separate from the project Pioneer proposed.

“[R]eynolds-to-Greentown and the Pioneer project have differences in scope, orientation, purpose, and cost,” NIPSCO said in the filing. “Thus, whatever claims complainant may possess to ‘the Pioneer project,’ those claims do not attach to the MTEP 2011 Reynolds-to-Greentown line, or indeed, to any other project approved as part of MISO’s regional transmission plan.”

The MISO-approved Reynolds-to-Greentown project is a 66-mile, 765-kV transmission line running southeast from NIPSCO’s existing 138-kV Reynolds substation to Duke’s existing Greentown substation. The Reynolds-to-Greentown project would also entail a new 765-kV/345-kV transformer at the Reynolds substation. It was designated as Project No. 2202, and Facility ID No. 4074 in Appendix A of MTEP 2011.

According to NIPSCO, the project for which Pioneer submitted an application for approval and which was reviewed by MISO’s candidate MVP task force would have run 240 miles from Duke’s Greentown substation in MISO through AEP’s Sullivan substation in PJM Interconnection and on to AEP’s Rockport substation in PJM. In Appendix C of MTEP09, MTEP10 and MTEP11, the project was designated as Project No. 2795.

This project, however, was segmented into separate MISO and PJM pieces, “resulting in a significant change of scope,” MISO said in its reply comments filed Feb. 28. “The ‘project’ that is the subject of the Pioneer complaint is a Multi-Value Project called ‘Reynolds to Greentown,’ as approved by MTEP 2011,” MISO added.

“Pioneer’s statement that ‘the [Reynolds-to-Greentown] project will not interconnect with any existing NIPSCO facilities’ is quite simply false,” NIPSCO said.

MISO in its reply comments said though Pioneer acknowledged and consented to the change in the termination point, which occurred during the planning stage, the company claimed MISO was not clear in explaining the change.

“MISO believes it made its views clear to Pioneer,” MISO said. The RTO noted it concluded the preferred terminus for 765-kV and 345-kV facilities in the area was NIPSCO’s Reynolds substation, as the primary consideration was the ability to support the project as an MVP, which would require that it provide regional benefits commensurate with costs and support state and federal energy policy objectives.

The Reynolds substation would be a wind hub, whereas the Rockport substation would connect to 2,600 MW of AEP’s coal-fired generation, NIPSCO noted.

MISO also said that one of Pioneer’s arguments claiming confusion over the name of the Reynolds substation, which sometimes is referred to as the New Reynolds substation, is “irrelevant to the ownership of the facilities,” given certain language in its transmission owners agreement (TOA). 

The New Reynolds substation is proposed by Pioneer, an AEP spokesperson told TransmissionHub Feb. 27, but NIPSCO in its comments calls it a “fictional point … in an attempt to render the MISO TOA a nullity.”

The Reynolds-Greentown project is estimated to cost $245m and has a projected in-service date of 2018.

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.