The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), in a March 4 order, granted Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) petition for determination of need for the Duval–Raven 230-kV transmission line in Baker, Columbia, Duval and Nassau counties.
As noted in the order, FPL filed its petition on Jan. 11, a prehearing conference was held on Feb. 10, and an administrative hearing was held on Feb. 24. None of the issues were contested, the PSC said.
FPL has demonstrated a need for the proposed project, taking into account the need for electric system reliability and integrity. The PSC also said that the line is needed to serve the forecast load and customer base in FPL’s north region; increase the capacity of the existing 230-kV transmission network between the Duval, Baldwin and Bradford substations and relieve the loading on the existing 115-kV transmission network between the Baldwin, Bradford and Columbia substations consistent with the reliability standards and criteria established by NERC; and provide another electrical feed from the Duval substation in Duval County to the Lake City area in Columbia County largely adjacent to an existing 115-kV transmission network.
The PSC said that FPL’s studies estimate that the proposed project would reduce transmission losses by about 6.2 MW at peak load. Therefore, the proposed project is to maintain and improve the reliability and improve the power transfer capability to FPL’s customers in that area, the PSC said.
The record in the case demonstrates that if FPL does not add or improve transmission capacity in the projected service area by December 2018, potential overloads ranging from 9% to 14% of the thermal line rating for certain existing lines are forecast under certain contingencies.
For those reasons, the PSC said that the project is needed to preserve electric system reliability and integrity.
The record demonstrates that the proposed project is the most cost-effective and efficient means to reinforce the existing 230-kV and 115-kV networks as well as to provide electrical service to existing and future load areas and substations within the Baldwin-Columbia-Bradford transmission facilities, the PSC said.
The estimated capital cost of the proposed project is $71m, including about $15m for the new Raven substation. While the final cost is subject to the final route and other conditions that could be imposed through the Transmission Line Siting Act process, the estimated cost appears reasonable, the PSC said.
About 96% of the length of the new line would be located within an existing transmission line right of way, the PSC added.
The PSC said that a new line sited west from FPL’s existing Duval substation in Duval County to the company’s planned Raven substation in Columbia County would be the most reliable and cost-effective means to serve the projected load growth within Baker, Bradford, Columbia and Union counties. The record demonstrates that the appropriate starting and ending points are the Duval and the planned Raven substations, respectively. Among other things, the PSC added that the Transmission Line Siting Board will make the final determination concerning the length and route of the proposed line.
FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE).