NSTAR’s 345-kV Lower SEMA project in service

NSTAR’s new 345-kV transmission line in southeastern Massachusetts is complete and has been in service since the end of June, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on July 23.

According to TransmissionHub data, the Lower SEMA project runs from the Carver substation in Carver, Mass., southeast along an existing NSTAR right-of-way, across the Cape Cod Canal and ties into an existing line, Line #120 in the vicinity of the Bourne switching station in Bourne, Mass.

The Cape Cod Commission approved the project in January 2012, while the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board approved it in July 2012. Construction began in September 2012.

NSTAR said earlier this month that the new 26-mile line is providing a backup power alternative to two previously existing 345-kV lines, as well as a new way to transmit reliable power to the heart of Cape Cod.

“The new line provides greater access to available power and an additional backup option in the event of an issue affecting the pre-existing lines,” NSTAR Electric President Craig Hallstrom said in the statement.

The company said that along with its reliability enhancements, the project provides economic and environmental benefits by reducing the area’s reliance on fossil-fueled power plants. ISO New England recommended the new line as the most prudent, cost-effective way to meet federal standards for backup power delivery to Cape Cod and the Islands.

NSTAR added that electricity customers across New England will pay the project’s $106m cost.

In addition to installing a third 345-kV line spanning the width of the Cape Cod Canal, the project entailed building new transmission towers, installing 18 miles of new high-voltage electric lines, placing pre-existing lines onto their own structures to further enhance reliability; and adding a new power source to the Mid-Cape that will provide additional reliability benefits for many local towns.

During Northeast Utilities’ 1Q13 earnings call in May, Leon Olivier, Northeast Utilities executive vice president and COO, said the company invested $141m in its transmission facilities over the first three months of the year.

At that time, the Lower SEMA project was about 60% complete and expected to be complete this summer.

NSTAR is a Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU) company.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 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 corinar@pennwell.com.