Final route for Midwest Transmission Project extended to avoid sensitive areas

Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) and the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), joint developers of the Midwest Transmission Project, on June 24 unveiled a final route that is approximately 10 miles longer than the longest route previously envisioned, to accommodate concerns raised during a 10-month information gathering process.

The final route was selected after meetings with advisory groups and local leaders, and after 20 public meetings attended by over 2,000 residents throughout the project area. It extends nearly 180 miles through northwest Missouri and eastern Nebraska. Originally, KCP&L and OPPD anticipated a route that was between 150 and 190 miles in length. That was later revised to an estimated length of between 140 miles and 170 miles.

“When we surveyed people about the things that concerned them the most, the length of the route was the least of their concerns,” a spokesperson for the project told TransmissionHub June 25. “Our goal was to minimize the effects of the route on communities, sensitive environmental and ecological areas as well as peoples’ homes and farms, so we ended up at about 180 miles.”

Project managers say the estimated total project cost of approximately $400m is unchanged from the original cost estimate. KCP&L is responsible for 95% of the costs, while OPPD is responsible for a 5% share.

The project consists of two sections. The first is a new 102-mile, 345-kV transmission line from KCP&L’s existing Sibley substation located near Sibley, Mo., to the new Mullin Creek substation south of Maryville, Mo. From there, the project will extend 77.5 miles to an existing OPPD substation located at its Nebraska City Power Station south of Nebraska City, Neb.

The endeavor is one of a half-dozen “priority projects” identified by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) in April 2010. It will provide an alternate route for electricity during emergencies and greater service reliability for all electric utility customers across northwestern Missouri, eastern Nebraska and throughout the surrounding region. It will also reduce congestion on the region’s transmission system and provide additional transmission capacity needed for long-term efficient delivery of energy to KCP&L and OPPD customers and to the region as a whole, according to the project’s website.

The project will also better integrate SPP’s east and west regions, improve SPP members’ ability to deliver power to customers, and facilitate the addition of new renewable and non-renewable generation to the grid, an SPP spokesperson told TransmissionHub. SPP’s priority projects are paid for by all of the SPP members in the nine-state organization.

Next, the two utility companies will start meeting with their constituents in their respective states and begin the negotiation process for easements and related matters. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2017.

Great Plains Energy (NYSE:GXP) is the holding company for KCP&L.

This article, originally published on June 26, was updated June 27 to include additional information provided by KCP&L.