Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is seeking approval in Maryland to modify an existing single-circuit 230-kV overhead transmission line to ensure it is able to import enough power to support the forecasted summer peak load for 2017.
The company filed an application on May 6 for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for the Northeast Transmission System Improvement Project, which primarily consists of the modification of the existing line in order to complete a double-circuit 230-kV overhead transmission line ring around the northeastern part of BGE’s Maryland electric distribution service territory.
BGE requested that the state Public Service Commission (PSC) docket the application as a new case and then assign the matter to Public Utility Law Judge Dennis Sober for adjudication. Sober presided over Case No. 9246 involving BGE’s application for a CPCN to build a 230-kV transmission line circuit between the Conastone and Graceton substations in Harford County, Md., before it was withdrawn by BGE on April 5.
The new application includes three project segments, one of which involves the same scope of work described in Case No. 9246. Sober presided over hearings in that case and is familiar with the details of that project segment, BGE added.
The project is needed to mitigate potential overloads that could impact the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system; comply with the reliability standards developed by NERC and PJM Interconnection under FERC’s oversight; and help ensure that BGE is able to import enough power to support the forecasted summer peak load for its distribution service territory for 2017, the project’s planned in-service year, which is 7,649 MW, according to BGE.
The project is also needed to provide system reinforcement for future area electrical load growth; increase the import capability into the electric distribution service territories of BGE and Pepco Holdings’ (NYSE:POM) Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco), which will also serve to lessen congestion during peak periods and may result in reduced energy costs; and create a dual supply to the Bagley substation, which will enhance the reliability and supply of energy to the county as well as eliminate the risk that an equipment failure at the substation could interrupt the 230-kV line.
The project must be in service by June 1, 2017, in order to comply with PJM’s directive to minimize risks associated with potential generation retirements.
The company also said that without the project, it will be more difficult for it to properly maintain and repair that portion of BGE’s 230-kV transmission system and certain equipment failure at the Bagley substation could interrupt the single-circuit 230-kV transmission line that currently supplies the northeast side of the Baltimore 230-kV system.
The project’s capital cost is about $73.5m. BGE also said that it proposes to build a steel pole, double-circuit, 230-kV overhead transmission line to replace an existing 230-kV single-circuit overhead transmission line located within the northeastern portion of BGE’s electric distribution service territory in Harford and Baltimore counties in Maryland.
The project breaks down into three primary segments:
- Segment A: Conastone substation to Graceton substation – BGE will build a second 230-kV circuit on the mostly vacant north side of an existing double-circuit overhead transmission tower line that runs between the Graceton substation, located in Whiteford, Harford County, and the Conastone substation, located in Whitehall, Harford County.
- Segment B: Graceton substation to Bagley substation – BGE will build a steel pole, double-circuit 230-kV overhead transmission line to replace an existing 230-kV single-circuit, lattice tower overhead transmission line that runs between the Bagley substation, located in Fallston, Harford County, and the Graceton substation.
- Segment C: Bagley substation to Raphael Road switching station – BGE will build a steel pole, double-circuit 230-kV overhead transmission line to replace an existing 230-kV single-circuit, lattice tower overhead transmission line that runs between the Bagley substation and the Raphael Road switching station, located in Bradshaw, Baltimore County.
BGE proposes to site the Conastone to Graceton segment within an approximately 300-feet-wide existing transmission right-of-way (ROW) that extends about 8.5 miles from the Graceton substation to the Conastone substation and already contains 115-, 230- and 500-kV circuits.
The company proposes to site the Graceton to Bagley segment within an approximately 150-feet-wide existing transmission ROW that extends about 14 miles from the Bagley substation to the Graceton substation and already contains a 230-kV single-circuit lattice tower overhead transmission line.
Also, BGE proposes to site the Bagley to Raphael Road segment within an approximately 150-feet-wide existing transmission ROW that extends about 6 miles from the Bagley substation to the Raphael Road switching station and already contains a 230-kV single-circuit overhead transmission line.
BGE further noted that since each of the segments involves either a “modification” to an existing overhead transmission line or something less than a modification, the company is not required to evaluate alternative transmission line routes in connection with the project.
Under current plans, final design and permitting for the project will be completed in June 2014, with construction beginning in January 2014 on the Conastone to Graceton segment, in April 2014 on the Graceton to Bagley segment, and in June 2014 on the Bagley to Raphael Road segment.
Among other things, BGE said project construction and operation should have minimal environmental effects, and albeit relatively minimal, project construction and operation will have a positive socioeconomic effect on the state and local economies. The project is also expected to generate tax revenue for state and local governments and create temporary local construction-related jobs, BGE added.
BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon (NYSE:EXC).