METC completes Weeds Lake Project in Michigan

Michigan Electric Transmission Company (METC) on March 1 said that a project involving the new 345/138-kV Weeds Lake electrical transmission substation, and four new 138-kV circuits on two overhead double circuit pole lines, was built, as authorized by a July 29, 2013, Michigan Public Service Commission order.

The substation is located in Almena Township, Van Buren County, Mich., and the lines are located on a 220-foot right of way (ROW) in Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo County, Mich.

The company also said in its project completion report filed with the commission that the substation connects into the previously existing Argenta-Robison Park 345-kV line and allows for power from that 345-kV transmission line to flow down to the 138-kV system through one 345/138-kV transformer and results in a new transmission source for the Kalamazoo area from the south, thereby supplementing the existing transmission source for the area from the north.

The lines consist of the four circuits on two overhead double circuit poles extending eastward from the Weeds Lake substation that connect with two previously existing 138-kV circuits that connected the Argenta station in Plainwell, Mich., to the Milham station in Portage, Mich.

Specifically, the company added, the lines connect to the previously existing Argenta-Milham #2 138-kV circuit, creating two new 138-kV circuits: Argenta-Weeds Lake #3 and Milham-Weeds Lake #2.

The lines also connect into the previously existing Argenta-Milham #1 138-kV circuit, creating another set of two new 138-kV circuits: Argenta-Weeds Lake #2 and Milham-Weeds Lake #1.

The lines, the company added, ultimately resulted in creating four new 138-kV circuits between the Weeds Lake substation and the pre-existing 138-kV facilities on the west side of Kalamazoo.

METC said that in addition to building the Weeds Lake substation, it looped the existing Argenta-Robison Park 345-kV and the Argenta-Milham #1 and #2 138-kV lines into the Weeds Lake substation, and installed a 345/138-kV transformer at the Weeds Lake substation.

Construction for the substation began on Sept. 8, 2015, and was completed on May 25, 2016, the company said.

The route of the lines cross over a railroad, which required a permit from the railroad in order to cross the railroad track, the company said, noting that that permit was granted to METC last summer. Due to system reliability concerns, the outages necessary to complete the project could not be taken until last fall, the company said.

Vegetation clearing related to the construction of the transmission lines occurred from May 15, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016; transmission line construction occurred from Oct. 20, 2015 to Dec. 12, 2016; the transmission lines were energized on Jan. 3; and restoration occurred from last May to Feb. 17.

The company further noted that while the initial estimated timeframe for completing the project was about eight months, the actual construction timeframe took more than 1.5 years due in large part to the adversarial nature of the project and related litigation. The company said that due to the difficult real estate rights acquisition and additional time required to complete the project, additional costs were incurred and the total project cost as of Jan. 31 is about $72m.

The major components of the additional costs incurred are attributable to an increase in allowance for funds used during construction due to the longer construction duration of the project; costs related to obtaining the necessary real estate rights for the project; the required legal proceedings and associated costs; and increased costs related to overhead and other indirect costs, the company said.

METC is a subsidiary of ITC Holdings, which is a Fortis (NYSE:FTS) company.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3056 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.