U.S., Canadian investment in electric transmission to top $14bn in 2013

Transmission project investment in the United States and Canada in 2013 will more than double that of 2012, with $14.22bn in projects expected to come online this year, compared to $5.59bn that entered service last year, according to TransmissionHub data.

The 2013 outlook includes 120 projects, comprising 5,426 line miles, that are expected to come online. Of those, 45 projects are estimated to be over $100m each. In 2012, 52 projects were completed, comprising 2,462 line miles. Of those, 14 were over $100m each.

Though the greatest number of line miles that entered service in 2012 belonged to the 345-kV voltage category 934 miles representing $1.26bn of investment – the greatest investment last year was in three 500-kV projects, representing $2.80bn in 309 line miles.

The three 500-kV projects that entered service were San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) Sunrise Powerlink, a $1.9bn, 117-mile project that links San Diego to the Imperial Valley in California; Hydro One‘s $695m, 112-mile Bruce to Milton line in Ontario; and the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) $200m, 79-mile West of McNary Reinforcement project in Oregon.

Sunrise Powerlink and Bruce to Milton were also the top two most expensive projects of 2012.

The largest 345-kV projects that entered service last year, by cost, were ITC Holdings’ (NYSE:ITC) Great Plains (KETA) project, a 227-mile, $205m line that was energized in December; Oklahoma Gas & Electric‘s Hugo to Sunnyside project, a 130-mile, $200m project; and Oncor Electric Delivery‘s Brown to Newton line, a 99-mile, $157m project.

For 2013, the majority of the 5,426 line miles scheduled to enter service are 345-kV projects totaling 3,064 line miles, which also represents the greatest investment, or $7bn.

Northeast Utilities‘ (NYSE:NU) $718m, 39-mile Greater Springfield Reliability Project represents the greatest 345-kV investment. The project is one of four that makes up the New England East-West Solution. Lone Star Transmission‘s and NextEra Energy‘s (NYSE:NEE) $370m, 192-mile West Shackelford to Navarro-Sam Switch line is the second most costly 345-kV line, and Lower Colorado River Authority’s $311m, 139-mile Big Hill to Kendall project is the third.

After the $7bn investment in 345-kV projects, the second greatest investment is $3.20bn in thirty-two 240-kV or 230-kV projects, representing a total of 1,059 line miles. ATCO Electric’s 149-mile, 240-kV Hanna Regional transmission project, at $764m, is the largest by cost, followed by Enbridge’s (NYSE:ENB) Montana Alberta Transmission Line (MATL), a 214-mile, 230-kV project estimated to cost $400m.

Seven 500-kV projects, representing a total of 577 line miles and $2.99bn of investment, are expected to come online this year. The largest of these, by cost, is Southern California Edison‘s Devers to Colorado River project, a $697m, 115-mile line from the Devers substation near Palm Springs to the new 500/230-kV Colorado substation near Blythe, California.

Nevada Hydro‘s $684m, 29-mile Talega to Escondido/Valley to Serrano (TE/VS) (LEAPS) project is the second most costly, and AltaLink’s Heartland transmission line is the third, at 41 miles and $610m.

No 765-kV projects were energized in 2012, nor are any expected to enter service in 2013.

Investment by company

Projects sponsored by Canadian companies ATCO Electric and AltaLink together comprise about $2.11bn of investment in 2013. Investment in projects to come online this year by companies based in Canada totals about $2.82bn.

In 2013, ATCO Electric, based in Alberta, is estimated to bring online about $1.28bn of transmission projects, and AltaLink to bring online about $832m.

Southern California Edison’s investment in projects to come online this year represents the second highest investment, after ATCO Electric, of $1.15bn.

ATCO Electric has five projects scheduled to enter service this year, including the Hanna Region transmission development project and the Northwest Fort McMurray transmission development project, a C$237m, 240-kV, 82-mile project for which ATCO has partnered with AltaLink.

AltaLink, also based in Alberta, will energize $842m in three projects in 2013, the majority of which comprises the Heartland transmission project, a C$610m, 500-kV, 41-mile project in Alberta.

Southern California Edison’s four projects to enter service this year comprise $1.15bn of investment. The projects are the 500-kV Devers to Colorado River and the Devers to Valley projects, the 230-kV Path 42 upgrade, and the 220-kV Eldorado to Ivanpah project.

Electric Transmission Texas will energize seven transmission projects, all of which are 345-kV, worth $911m of investment, including the $178m, 90-mile Clear Crossing to Dermott, the $169m, 84-mile Edith Clarke to Clear Crossing and the $164m, 89-mile Edith Clarke to Cottonwood projects.

Investment by RTO

In 2013, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), in which the competitive renewable energy zone (CREZ) projects are being constructed, will see the most investment, $4.4bn of the $14.22bn total investment coming online in 2013, comprising 2,480 line miles of the total 5,426 line miles.

The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) follows with 468 line miles, representing $2.3bn of investment; the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) comes in third, with $2.2bn of investment in 1,143 line miles; and the California ISO (Cal-ISO) follows, with $1.8bn of investment in 236 line miles.

ISO-New England (ISO-NE) is expected to construct 184 lines miles, representing $1.3bn of investment; the PJM Interconnection to construct 92 line miles representing $700m of investment; the Midwest ISO (MISO) and the New York ISO (NYISO) to construct 325 line miles and 198 line miles, respectively, representing $600m of investment each; the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) to construct 263 line miles representing $400m of investment; and the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to construct 30 line miles representing $100m of investment.

In ERCOT, Lone Star Transmission and NextEra’s 345-kV West Shackelford to Navarro-Sam Switch line is the largest, by cost and mileage, to be constructed; in WECC, NV Energy’s (NYSE:NVE) 235-mile, $552m ON Line project is the largest, by cost and mileage, to be constructed; in AESO, ATCO Electric‘s 149-mile, 240-kV Hanna Region transmission development is the largest, by cost and mileage, to be constructed; in Cal-ISO SCE’s $697m Devers to Colorado River projects is the largest by cost and mileage, to be constructed; in SPP, OG&E’s $175m, 125-mile Seminole to Muskogee projects it the largest, by cost and line mile; in NYISO, Anbaric Holdings’ $188m, seven-mile, 345-kV underground Hudson transmission project is the largest by cost, while the New York Power Authority‘s $88m, 40-mile, 345-kV Dysinger Tap to BPS Station is the largest by line mile; in ISO-NE, Northeast Utilities’ Greater Springfield Reliability project is the largest by cost, $718m, while Bangor Hydro Electric’s $61m, 48-mile, 115-kV Downeast Reliability project is the largest by line mile; and in PJM, Duquesne Light & Power‘s $291m, 8-mile 345-kV Carson to Brunot Island is the largest by cost, while PPL Electric Utilities $23m, 15-mile, 230-kV Manor to Graceton project is the largest by line miles.

The only project planned for completion in the Ontario IESO is Dufferin Wind Power‘s 30-mile, 230-kV transmission line, which is estimated to cost $51m.

In 2012, Cal-ISO saw the largest amount of investment, $1.9bn in 117 line miles, followed by SPP, with $997m in 840 line miles; the Ontario IESO, with $838m in 196 line miles; ERCOT, with $636m in 514 line miles; WECC non-Cal-ISO, with $435m in 293 line miles; MISO with $372m in 251 line miles; PJM with $168m in 57 line miles; AESO with $134m in 107 line miles; NYISO with $75m in 56 line miles; and ISO-NE with $33m in 39 line miles.

Investment by NERC region

In 2013, the greatest amount of investment by NERC region will take place in WECC, which will see $6.20bn and 1,742 line miles. The Texas Reliability Entity (TRE), which shares with ERCOT the CREZ projects, is estimated to see $4.4bn of investment through 2,480 line miles in 2013; the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) is estimated to see $1.95bn of investment in 412 line miles; the Reliability First Corporation (RFC) is estimated to see $694m of investment in 143.5 line miles; the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) is estimated to see $499m of investment in 344 line miles; SPP is estimated to see $363m of investment in 263 line miles; and the SERC Reliability Corporation is estimated to see $149m of investment in 34 line miles.

NERC Regional Entities. Source: NERC 

TransmissionHub data does not show projects in the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council.

In 2012, the greatest amount of investment was in WECC, with $2.4bn in 485 line miles; followed by SPP, with $997m in 840 line miles; NPCC, with $946m in 291 line miles; TRE, with $636m in 514 line miles; MRO, with $282m in 179 line miles; RFC, with $158m in 107 line miles; and SERC, with $152m in 54 line miles.

Suspended projects

Twenty-two transmission projects have been suspended or cancelled recently, totaling $16.82bn, with the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) and Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) projects making the biggest headlines in 2012.

PJM’s board of directors in August removed the two projects from the RTO’s regional transmission expansion plan (RTEP), citing reduced growth in customer demand and added generation.

PATH, a $2.1bn, 275-mile, 765-kV line, was a joint venture between Allegheny Energy, which later merged with FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) and American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP). MAPP, proposed by Pepco Holdings (NYSE:POM), was a $1bn, 152-mile 500-kV line project that included a 39-mile HVDC undersea cable across the Chesapeake Bay.

Most recently, MidAmerican decided not to pursue the Midwest Power Transmission (MPT) project, which was originally proposed by Electric Transmission America, a joint venture (JV) between MidAmerican Energy Holdings and AEP. In December 2012, MidAmerican and AEP told TransmissionHub they did not plan to pursue new projects through Electric Transmission America. The JV was then restructured, with MidAmerican securing full ownership of the MPT project. MidAmerican on Jan. 28 confirmed it was not pursuing the project.

SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).

SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX).

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.