Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company’s (TrAILCo), in a Sept. 7 brief filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), said that “Alternative Route 7” has been selected as the preferred route in relation to the company’s proposed 230-kV line in McKean County, Pa.
As noted in the brief, TrAILCo last November filed its siting application seeking siting approval to locate and build a high-voltage transmission line, known as the Pierce Brook–Lewis Run 230-kV Transmission Line in the Borough of Lewis Run and the Townships of Keating, Bradford and Lafayette, McKean County.
The project is needed to mitigate thermal reliability criteria violations of FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) and PJM Interconnection planning criteria that were identified as a result of the planned deactivation of several generating stations. Specifically, the company added, the project is needed to address thermal violations identified under NERC’s reliability conditions and to provide adequate transmission capacity to meet current and expected customer needs for electric service in Erie, Warren, McKean, Potter and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania.
Further discussing the need for the project, the company noted that PJM conducted a generation deactivation study using 2015 summer forecast loads to model the deactivation of NRG’s Portland Units 1 & 2, Shawville Units 1, 2, 3 & 4; Titus Units 1, 2 & 3; and Glen Gardner combustion turbines (CTs) 1-8. Results of the study indicated the loss of the Forest–Glade 230-kV transmission line would increase line loading on the Farmers Valley–Lewis Run 115-kV transmission line to about 131% of its emergency rating in the PJM Generation Deliverability test, the company said.
The project consists of the single-circuit Pierce Brook–Lewis Run 230-kV line, which would be about 15.6 miles long and run between, and interconnect, the Lewis Run substation, which is owned by Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), and the new Pierce Brook substation, which is to be owned by TrAILCo.
The Lewis Run–Farmers Valley 115-kV high-voltage transmission line, which is owned by Penelec, will be deactivated. The right of way (ROW) of Penelec’s existing Lewis Run–Farmers Valley 115-kV line is 100 feet wide, TrAILCo added, noting that under the preferred route that it has proposed, the western portions of the project would follow the route of Penelec’s 115-kV line. On those western portions of the project, the ROW would be wider – 160 feet – than the ROW of the existing Lewis Run–Farmers Valley line, and would overlap portions of Penelec’s existing ROW. While the ROWs overlap in places, TrAILCo said that it purchased its easement directly from the underlying fee owners, and the company’s easement is separate from, and independent of, Penelec’s ROW.
TrAILCo said that the it must be able to route the project over two properties that are the subject of eminent domain applications that the company has filed in order to locate, build and operate the project and to relieve certain reliability conditions. Due to title-related matters, TrAILCo said that it reached an impasse with the landowners of the two properties and must pursue eminent domain to remove clouds on their title that may impair TrAILCo’s acquisitions.
The estimated cost of construction of the project, which would require about 144 structures, is $10m, and the proposed in-service date for the project is June 2018, TrAILCo said.
Of nine alternative routes developed for further study, the 15.6-mile “Alternative Route 7,” which crosses fewer parcels, was selected as the preferred route in order to further minimize potential impacts to landowners.
Among other things, TrAILCo said that it would implement its ongoing Transmission Vegetation Management Program to ensure that it complies with all federal, state and local vegetation management standards.