Duke Energy evaluating new line to bolster reliability after Wabash River unit retirements

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) is evaluating routes for a new 138-kV transmission line between its Dresser substation and the Wabash River generating station in Indiana.

The project is expected to run mostly through rural areas of west Vigo County, Ind., and will address reliability concerns arising from the retirement in 2015 of four of six units at the Wabash River generating station.

“This transmission line will help to make up some of the supply for power that’s needed in the region” in light of the retirements, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on March 25.

Depending on the final route chosen, the line could be between 10 miles and 13 miles long. Duke Energy is evaluating three routes. The company expects to select a final preferred route no later than June 30, and to begin construction in 2Q15 or 3Q15, the spokesperson said, adding that the line must be in service no later than the summer of 2016.

Duke Energy will not have a cost estimate for the project until a route is selected, the spokesperson said. 

Of the remaining two units at Wabash River generating station, Duke Energy owns one, Unit 6, which is the largest and newest unit at the station.

“We are considering whether to convert that unit to natural gas or to retire it,” the spokesperson said. “We’re still evaluating and analyzing all the different factors.”

Wabash Valley Power Association owns the other unit at the plant, Unit 1. Units 2, 3, 4 and 5 are being retired.

Duke Energy will not need to seek permission from the utility regulatory commission to build the line, the spokesperson said, adding, “It’s part of our normal planning and upgrading process.”

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.