Entergy Arkansas is in the route selection phase for a new 115-kV line, which will extend from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dam No. 2 to the company’s existing Gillett substation, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub Nov. 1.
The project, which is estimated to cost about $26m, is needed to provide continued reliable electric service and voltage stability in the southeast region of Arkansas, specifically, all of the areas southeast of Pine Bluff, namely Desha and Arkansas counties, she said.
The spokesperson also said the project, known as the AECC DAM 2 to Gillett line, is part of an overall expansion of the transmission facilities for southeast Arkansas that includes expanding existing southeast Arkansas substations and installing new 230-kV transmission facilities, building a new 230-kV transmission line between Lake Village and Reed and building a new-230 kV transmission line between Reed and Monticello.
“The new transmission line will have highly efficient and reliable terminal facilities consisting of circuit switching and protective relaying devices at the existing substations at Dam #2 and Gillett,” the spokesperson added.
Noting that the project has numerous benefits, she said that the areas in southeast Arkansas have been successful in continuing to expand existing economic infrastructure as well as promoting new business for the region.
“Upgrading the infrastructure from the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dam #2 on the Arkansas River to the existing Entergy Arkansas substation in Gillett is a testament to the economic growth of towns and communities in the region,” the spokesperson said, adding that the new line will meet current needs as well as projected demand in the years ahead.
“In addition, the facilities will provide a much needed 115-kV transmission loop furnishing back-up power and maintenance capability to the area from substations at Pine Bluff, Stuttgart and Helena,” she said. “To safely maintain a line sometimes requires periodic outages to do the work safely, and this would allow for back-up power.”
Depending on the route, the approvals could change, the spokesperson said, noting that the Entergy (NYSE:ETR) company anticipates seeking approvals from the Corps of Engineers that could include a river crossing permit and other appropriate approvals from local and state agencies. The Arkansas Public Service Commission will need to approve the final route.
Entergy Arkansas, which will own and operate the new line, will contract out the construction of the line under the supervision of Entergy personnel.
The spokesperson also said that while the project’s schedule includes construction dates that could be subject to change, Entergy Arkansas hopes to start right-of-way purchases, surveying and clearing by the fourth quarter of 2013.
Mobilizing of crews and project construction could begin between the third and fourth quarter of 2015, the spokesperson said. Furthermore, the company hopes to complete construction and final testing and have the line in service by the first or second quarter of 2016.
In preparing for the upgrade, the company sent letters to all landowners of record within a reasonable distance from the potential transmission line routing segments.
An open house was held in Gillett on Oct. 30, the spokesperson added.
“About 70 people were present at the open house and were asked to fill out and submit questionnaires designed to help identify their interests and concerns,” she said. “The transmission line team then incorporates this feedback in the route selection process. All final decisions regarding new transmission line facilities will be made only after considering this public input.”