FERC infrastructure update shows continued lag in transmission

FERC’s February infrastructure update shows that transmission development in 2012 continues to lag behind the pace of development in 2011.

The report, released on March 22, shows that one project was energized in February. The Bonneville Power Administration completed the 79-mile, 500-kV 79-mile McNary-John Day transmission line 10 months ahead of schedule and saved nearly $140m off the original cost estimate of $340m, according to the report.

The report said 89.5 miles of lines less than or equal to 230-kV and 1.2 miles of 345-kV line were added during Feb. 2011.

On an annualized basis, the current pace of transmission development would result in considerably less new transmission entering service in 2012 than the 2,183 miles added last year.

The two-year forecast estimates that nearly 22,700 miles of proposed transmission projects are projected to be in service by February 2014, but according to the report, only 13,800 miles of those new lines have a “high probability” of completion.

The report also included benefits of planned transmission project.

The commission’s report cited a study by London Economics that concluded the construction and operation of the 333-mile Champlain Hudson Power Express would create approximately 2,000 jobs. The project’s developers commissioned the study.

The report provided details about ongoing transmission planning, and listed three companies that had filed applications to build new, or modify existing, projects.

Appalachian Power Company filed an application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission to construct the $25m, 138-kV, 7.5-mile Falling Branch–Merrimac transmission project.

Rocky Mountain Power announced plans to remove 100 miles of line from the eastern side of the 230 kV Windstar–Aeolus transmission line in Wyoming, a part of the 1,100-mile Gateway West transmission project.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Inc. and Public Service Co. of Colorado announced plans for the Lamar-Front Range project, a joint transmission project that would consist of a series of 345-kV transmission lines on the eastern plains. It could range in size from 350 miles to 500 miles and cost in between $294 – $900m with a completion date in 2019.