Monthly Project Review October 2015

PPL Electric Utilities’ Blakely to Ramapo project, which is part of the greater Project Compass initiative to take advantage of shale development in the region by building adequate grid infrastructure, was one of four new projects announced in October.

The new Blakely to Ramapo line will be approximately 95 miles, rated at 345-kV, and has a cost estimate of $600m. PPL Electric Utilities, subsidiary of PPL (NYSE:PPL), expects to complete the project by late 2023.

Also in October, Indiana Michigan Power Co., subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) announced the new Melita Reliability Enhancement Project, which involves replacing the aging Webster substation with a new Melita substation. A new 2-mile, 69-kV transmission line will also be built and tied into the existing Hadley–McKinley line. The project is being built to improve reliability in the region. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, at a cost of $50m.

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative is planning a new 19.6-mile, 138-kV transmission line in Denton County, Texas. Dubbed the Oak Point Project, the new transmission line will address rapid load growth in the region. The project has an initial cost estimate of $25.2m, and is expected to be energized by late spring 2018.

National Grid plc subsidiary National Grid announced the new Meco–Rotterdam #10 Refurbishment project, which involves improvements to an existing 32.5-mile, 115-kV transmission line between Johnstown and Rotterdam, N.Y. The refurbishment project is a maintenance project that is necessary to provide system reliability to the electric utility end users, as well as provide for public safety in areas where structure replacement or other methods are used to mitigate substandard clearances and maintain thermal ratings. The project’s completion date is April 2016.

Two projects went into service in October. The Pinal Central to Tortolita project, sponsored by Tucson Electric Power Co. (TEP) was completed late in the month. The $76m project included a new 41-mile, 500-kV transmission line to support renewable generation in central Arizona, as well as boosting reliability for customers. TEP and its parent, UNS Energy, are owned by Fortis (TSX:FTS).

The second project energized last month was the South Pittsburg 161-kV project, sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The project involved six miles of new 161-kV transmission line to support the growing industrial load in the region. The project had a final cost of approximately $10m.

Various projects saw changes in October as well. The Hampton–Rochester–La Crosse 345-kV Project, sponsored by Xcel Energy(NYSE:XEL), is now more than halfway completed. Approximately 90 miles of the 153-mile, 345-kV project went active in October, with an expected total completion date still forecast for mid-2016.  The project is a joint initiative with 11 other utilities in Minnesota to expand the grid to ensure continued reliable service, and has an expected final cost of $500m.

Appalachian Power Co. announced it is experiencing delays with its Falling Branch to Merrimac project. Originally expected to be completed by the end of 2015, the project will now be energized by fall of 2016. The project involves a new 8-mile, 115-kV transmission line in central Virginia to meet growing power demand and ensure reliability. Appalachian Power Co., is a subsidiary of AEP.

Finally, two American Transmission Company projects received approval from Wisconsin state regulators. The first was the Creekview Interconnection Project, which is a 14-mile, 138-kV transmission line, with a cost of $26m. The second was the St. Martins–Edgewood–Mukwonago Rebuild, which is a rebuild of 14.3 miles of existing 138-kV transmission line at a cost of $24.7m. Both projects will ensure continued grid reliability and are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.