Public meetings begin for Greentown to Reynolds 765-kV project

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) and Pioneer Transmission will hold the first round of open houses Jan. 21-23 to give members of the community the opportunity to learn more about the proposed Greentown-Reynolds 765-kV electric system improvement project, a part of the larger Pioneer Project.

“We’re holding three open house meetings in populous areas along the study area,” a NIPSCO spokesperson told TransmissionHub Jan. 14. The open houses, in Kokomo, Logansport, and Delphi, Ind., will provide area residents opportunities to learn more about the project and share potential concerns.

“Primarily we’re looking for feedback from property owners within the study area,” the spokesperson said. “We expect typical concerns from farm owners regarding irrigation systems, environmental concerns to be mindful of … and looking out of endangered species, so there’s a whole host of things to consider when constructing one of these lines.”

The companies have not yet identified any specific routes within the study area. The upcoming open houses are the first round of such meetings; the companies will hold a second round of open houses in May and expect to begin finalizing route segments some time during the summer.

Once that is done, they will begin targeted outreach to homeowners and businesses in the area, including direct mailings and advertisements in local media, to make them aware of the project and provide opportunity for comments.

The 70-mile project, with an estimated $328m price tag, is one of 17 multi-value projects (MVP) identified by regional grid operator Midcontinent ISO (MISO) in its 2011 transmission expansion plan (MTEP11). Studies conducted by MISO determined that improvement projects such as Greentown-Reynolds are necessary to maintain the reliability of the transmission grid while meeting local energy and reliability needs.

New projects in Indiana identified in the draft of MISO’s MTEP 13 include the planned construction of a second Guion-Rockville-Thompson 345-kV line and associated construction of a new Guion 345/138kV transformer. At an estimated cost of $57m, that project is estimated to enter service by Dec. 31, 2019. The draft also includes a proposal to build a new 138-kV transmission line of approximately 10 miles from Dresser to the Wabash River Generating Station at a cost of approximately $13m, to be in service by June 2016. However, there were no new MVPs included in MTEP 13.

Greentown-Reynolds’ path across central Indiana will create an additional path for wind energy across the state, providing facilities that will bring less expensive wind generation into areas closer to the East Coast, where the generation of power can be considerably more expensive. In addition, the new 765-kV line will mitigate existing reliability constraints on the 345-kV system north of the study area toward Chicago and Michigan, as well as in southwestern Indiana.

Construction could start in early 2016 with project completion by 2018. The Greentown-Reynolds project will ensure the continuous and reliable delivery of power through a 765-kV transmission line, modernizing and expanding the energy delivery system while improving access to regional power supplies, according to the project’s website.

Pioneer Transmission and NIPSCO will each own a segment of the completed line.

The Greentown-Reynolds project is one of two MVP projects located entirely within Indiana. The other is the Reynolds to Topeka project, which NIPSCO kicked off in 2013. That project is a 99-mile, 345-kV line from the Reynolds/Brookston substation to East Winamac to Burr Oak and to Hiple through northern Indiana.

During the summer of 2013, the utility identified routing segments for that project, and it is currently in the process of acquiring right-of-way (ROW) segments, the spokesperson said. That project, with an expected in service date of December 2019, is estimated to cost $271m.

The remaining two segments of the Pioneer project consist of 220 miles of 765-kV transmission.. One segment will run from the Reynolds substation to Indiana Michigan Power‘s Sullivan substation, with the portion within the Reynolds substation being owned by NIPSCO. A second segment will run from the Sullivan substation to Indiana Michigan Power’s Rockport substation located at the AEP’s coal-fired Rockport power plant. Those segments are being built entirely by Pioneer Transmission.

Pioneer Transmission is a joint venture between American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) through subsidiaries AEP Transmission Holding Co. and Duke Energy Transmission Holding Co.