EEI: Total transmission investment in 2011 reached $11.1bn

Edison Electric Institute (EEI) members’ investment in transmission in 2011 totaled $11.1bn – in real 2011 dollars – and they will continue to increase their year-over-year transmission investment through 2013, when peak annual total investment may reach about $15.1bn, in real 2011 dollars, according to a new EEI report.

The report, Transmission Projects: At A Glance, March 2013, is the seventh annual publication of EEI’s Transmission Projects: At A Glance report and showcases a cross-section of more than 150 major transmission projects that EEI’s members completed in 2012, as well as have planned for the next ten years, EEI added on March 4. 

These projects, which represent a portion of the total transmission investment that EEI’s members anticipate through 2023, total about $51.1bn in nominal dollars.

EEI also said that according to the report, of the total $51.1bn worth of transmission projects highlighted, $26.5bn, or 52%, are for large, interstate transmission projects spanning multiple states; $38.7bn, or 76%, for projects supporting the integration of renewable resources; and $29.1bn, or 57% for projects where EEI member companies are collaborating with other utilities,including non-EEI members, to develop the project.

Projects may fall into more than one category, EEI noted.

According to the report, the $51.1bn figure is down from the approximately $64bn highlighted in the 2012 report due to changing projections of system needs.

EEI said it forecasts a decrease in transmission investment after 2013, in partbecause several major projects have been modified, delayed or canceled. Such project adjustments are mainly due to load growth forecast revisions in response to the current economic environment, as well as long-term growth rates due to increases in demand side management and energy efficiency. Yet, EEI said it expects investments by its members in 2014 and 2015 to be higher than in2011.

EEI highlighted projects completed in 2012, including Consolidated Edison’s (NYSE:ED) Astoria 345-kV – 138-kV Connection (Phase 1) in the New York ISO; Pepco Holdings’ (NYSE:POM) Benning Transmission Project in PJM Interconnection; the CapX2020 Bemidji – Grand Rapids 230-kV line in the Midwest ISO; and the KETA Project (Phase 1) in the Southwest Power Pool.

The report also included information on various projects developed by such companies as American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), which has invested about $4bn in transmission from 2002 to 2011.

AEP and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), for instance, formed the joint venture, Pioneer Transmission, to build an estimated $950m project that consists of about 240 miles of new 765-kV line linking Duke’s Greentown station near Kokomo, Ind., to AEP’s Rockport station near Evansville, Ind.

From the Greentown station, the line runs west to a new 765-kV substation – Reynolds – just north of Lafayette, Ind., before extending southwest to AEP’s Sullivan station and further south to AEP’s Rockport station. The anticipated in-service date for the Greentown to Reynolds segment is 2018, EEI added.

Another project highlighted, by AEP, Exelon’s (NYSE:EXC) Exelon Transmission and Commonwealth Edison, is the approximately 420-mile, 765-kV, approximately $1.6bn RITELine Transmission project, which will start at the proposed Blue Creek substation on the Indiana/Ohio border, run west through Indiana to Kewanee, Ill., and then north to Byron, Ill. There is also a segment in Illinois from Kewanee to Exelon’s Collins substation, EEI said.

PJM is evaluating the project, which is expected to be placed in service in phases from 2018 to 2020.

Also included in the report is American Transmission Company’s (ATC) Badger Coulee project, which consists of about 150 miles of new single-circuit, 345-kV transmission line from La Crosse into the greater Madison area of Wisconsin. The project costs about $470m to $500m, depending on the ordered route. EEI also noted that if approved by state regulators, construction would begin in 2016 to meet an in-service date of 2018.

As noted, construction of phase one of Consolidated Edison’s Astoria 345-kV – 138-kV Connection was completed and the line became operational in June 2012. The second phase is on schedule to be complete by this summer.

EEI noted that the project consists of a new partially overhead/partially underground feeder that supplies power from the gas insulated 345-kV Astoria Annex transmission substation to the 138-kV Astoria East substation, as well as a new step-down 345/138-kV autotransformer and a 138-kV phase angle regulator.

The report also included Duke-American Transmission Co.’s (DATC) approximately $238m Midwest Portfolio Phase 1, which consists of 60 miles of 345-kV transmission lines, 35 miles of double-circuit 230-kV lines and 33 miles of 138-kV lines, and will span from northwest to west-central Indiana from a new tap substation in Illinois to the Qualitech and Royalton substations northwest of Indianapolis. The project’s anticipated in-service date is 2017.

EEI also said that the Kansas V-Plan project by ITC Great Plains, a subsidiary of ITC Grid Development, is projected to be in service by late 2014. The project consists of about 200 miles of new double-circuit, 345-kV transmission lines designed to connect central and western Kansas. It costs about $300m for ITC Great Plains’ portion. ITC Grid Development is a wholly owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings (NYSE:ITC).

National Grid plc subsidiary National Grid USA’s estimated $2bn Northeast Energy Link has an estimated in-service date of late 2018. The project, of which Bangor Hydro Electric is an investment partner, consists of about 230 miles of new 1,100 MW HVDC transmission line from Orrington, Maine, to eastern Massachusetts.

Another project highlighted is Northeast Utilities’ (NYSE:NU) Northern Pass, which has a target in-service date for late 2016 or early 2017. EEI added that the project consists of about 140 miles of new 300-kV HVDC transmission line and an associated 40-mile radial 345-kV line that will interconnect Quebec with the bulk power system in New Hampshire for the purpose of importing 1,200 MW of low-carbon emissions power into New England.

The estimated capital cost for the U.S. portion of the line is about $1.1bn.

EEI also said that the company’s estimated $718m Greater Springfield Reliability Project, which is expected to be in service this year. The project consists of about 35 miles of new single and double-circuit 345-kV lines in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and 60 circuit miles of new and reconstructed single and double-circuit, 115-kV overhead lines in Massachusetts. UIL Holdings’ (NYSE:UIL) United Illuminating is investing about 8.4% of the cost of the project’s Connecticut portion.

The company’s estimated $110m Lower SEMA Transmission Project is expected to be complete in September. The project addresses system reliability concerns in the lower southeastern Massachusetts area, which includes Cape Cod, and consists of an approximately 18-mile, new 345-kV line on existing rights of way from the Carver substation crossing the Cape Cod Canal to a new 345/115-kV substation west of Barnstable on Cape Cod, EEI added.

Among other projects, EEI noted that the forecast in-service dates for Segments 3b-11 of Southern California Edison’s (SCE) approximately $2.5bn Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project range from 2013 through 2015.

The project is an 11-segment project consisting of new and upgraded 220-kV and 500-kV lines and associated substations built mainly to help the development of renewable energy generation projects in remote areas of eastern Kern County, Calif.

California state regulators on Feb. 28 granted SCE, a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX), permission to move forward with preconstruction activities associated with the potential undergrounding of a portion of the project and to recover the costs associated with those activities.

“Continued investment in transmission infrastructure will be required to, among other things, maintain reliability and support shifts in the nation’s generation portfolio,” EEI said in the report, adding that effective policies for planning and siting, cost allocation and cost recovery are key to achieve the needed levels of transmission investments.

Moving forward, FERC should balance the need to promote investment in long-term infrastructure assets with the short-term, cyclical movements in the capital markets in order to ensure sufficient access to capital to build needed transmission projects, EEI said.
About Corina Rivera-Linares 3152 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.