ComEd to unveil preferred routes for Grand Prairie-Gateway

Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) will unveil its preferred route and at least one alternate for the proposed Grand Prairie Gateway project across northern Illinois at three public open houses Oct. 8-10, ComEd said on Sept. 30.

The open houses will be held in Rochelle, St. Charles, and Sycamore, Ill., and follow three open houses held in August, at which residents learned about the proposed corridors for the planned 345-kV project, which the utility had said previously would primarily cross agricultural land, and at which residents were able to weigh in on their preferred alternatives for the final route.

The open houses are part of ComEd’s integrated process, through which the company incorporates input from the public and other community stakeholders to identify a primary route for the transmission line and at least one alternate route within the transmission line study area.

ComEd plans to build the 57-mile transmission project across Ogle, DeKalb, Kane and DuPage counties in northern Illinois, as “the best solution for addressing current system congestion and ensuring the continued efficient flow of electricity across northern Illinois,” according to the utility’s statement.

“We are making the investments needed to meet the energy requirements of our region and to protect customers from the increased costs caused by constraints on our system,” Terence Donnelly, ComEd’s EVP and COO said.

Calls seeking additional details from ComEd were not returned by press time Sept. 30.

The project, which will be the third west-east line to cross ComEd’s service territory, will connect the company’s existing Byron and Wayne substations.

PJM Interconnection selected the Grand Prairie Gateway Project as the best solution for addressing current system congestion and ensuring the continued efficient flow of electricity across northern Illinois, ComEd said. PJM also identified the line as a solution for resolving auction revenue rights (ARR) infeasibility constraints in ComEd’s zone. ARRs are the mechanism by which proceeds from the annual financial transmission rights auction are allocated.

The project also alleviates constraints on market-to-market flowgates near the boundary with the Midcontinent ISO, PJM said.

The project is estimated to cost $109.6m, according to PJM’s 2012 regional transmission expansion plan.

Following the conclusion of the public proceedings, the project must be approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), which will also approve the project’s final route.

The company expects to file an application for approval of the project with the ICC before the end of 2013, after which the commission will have up to 225 days to announce its decision. If approved, the project is planned to enter service in June 2017.

ComEd is a subsidiary of Exelon (NYSE:EXC).