PPL Electric Utilities, in a Jan. 29 letter of notification filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), requested approval to rebuild about 24.4 miles of the existing single-circuit Susquehanna–Jenkins 230-kV Transmission Line as a double-circuit 230-kV transmission line.
The proposed project is located in Luzerne County and will traverse these municipalities: Conyngham Township, Slocum Township, Nuangola Borough, Rice Township, Hanover Township, Bear Creek Township, Laurel Run Borough, and Plains Township.
The company also said that the proposed project is required to resolve a thermal violation identified by PJM Interconnection in the 2013 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) analysis.
Subject to the PUC’s approval, construction is scheduled to begin next September to support an in-service date of June 2018, the company said, adding that the project’s total estimated cost is about $64.3m.
Discussing the need for the project, the company noted that the existing single-circuit line extends about 26.5 miles between the Susquehanna 230-69-kV substation in Conyngham Township to the Jenkins 230-69-kV substation in Plains Township. The line is one of the three major 230-kV lines that connect generation in the west to load in the east in PPL Electric’s Central and Northeast regions. Studies conducted for PPL Electric’s transmission system, in conjunction with the RTEP process, identified a violation of mandatory NERC reliability standards on the existing 230-kV line.
The company also said that its studies and the 2013 RTEP identified that the line will exceed 100% of its summer emergency rating under peak conditions for this N-1-1 contingency: the loss of the Susquehanna–Lackawanna 500-kV transmission line, followed by the loss of the Mountain–Susquehanna T10 230-kV transmission line.
Further describing the project, the company said it would rebuild about 24.4 miles of the existing 26.5-mile line between the Susquehanna substation to a new tap point near the Jenkins substation to a double-circuit configuration. The new double-circuit system will tap into the existing Jenkins–Acahela 230-kV transmission line located about 2.1 miles south of the Jenkins 230-69-kV substation.
At the tap point, one of the two circuits will tap into and continue north on the existing Jenkins–Acahela line and will terminate at the Jenkins 230-69-kV substation. That circuit, the company added, will continue to be referred to as the Susquehanna–Jenkins 230-kV transmission line. The other circuit will tap into and continue south on the existing Jenkins–Acahela line and will terminate at the Acahela 230-69-kV substation. That circuit will be referred to as the Susquehanna-Acahela 230-kV transmission line.
The rebuilt line will be located within the existing right of way (ROW) for the Susquehanna–Jenkins line, which is 150-feet wide for most of the line with several locations increasing to 250 feet or more, the company added. The rebuilt double-circuit line will be built on the existing centerline with each new structure located adjacent to the existing structures, the company said, adding that no new additional ROW is necessary for the project.
The proposed project will resolve the reliability violation identified in the 2013 RTEP. PPL Electric also said that it submitted the proposed project to PJM in early 2013 for review and inclusion in the RTEP. The PJM Board approved the project, which was included in the 2013 RTEP Report as baseline project b2269.
The company also said that land use impacts are anticipated to be minimal due to the fact that the project will be built entirely within the existing ROW and on the substation site owned in fee by PPL Electric. Furthermore, the proposed project will not affect any recreational areas, natural landmarks or unique geological areas, the company said.
The existing ROW for the 230-kV line currently traverses eight areas identified by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program as natural areas. The company added that those areas will be surveyed and protective measures will be implemented during construction to avoid impacts to any protected species identified within those natural areas.
Among other things, the company said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) noted that the proposed project is located within habitat areas for the federally endangered Indiana bat and the federally threatened long-eared bat. However, the USFWS concluded that, as no new forest clearing is anticipated, the effects of the project are not likely to affect those bat species, the company said.
PPL Electric is a subsidiary of PPL (NYSE:PPL).