Monthly Project Review June 2017

Nine new projects were announced in June, totaling nearly $858.9m, according to TransmissionHub data.

Pedernales Electric Cooperative announced the new Highway 32-Wimberley rebuild project, which involves upgrading the existing 69-kV and 138-kV transmission lines to relieve congestion. The project, which is estimated to cost between about $5.4m and $12.1m, depending on the final route approved by Texas regulators, is located in Hays County, and is expected to be completed by late 2019.

Transource Energy has plans for the new Independence Energy Connection project between Pennsylvania and Maryland. The project involves a west and east segment. The west segment includes a new 230-kV transmission line between a new Rice substation and the existing Ringgold substation. The east segment involves a 230-kV transmission line between the new Furnace Run substation and the existing Conastone substation. Both segments would run through the Pennsylvania and Maryland border and would help alleviate electrical gridlock problems in the corresponding regions. Transource Energy expects to complete the line by 2020, at a cost of $320m. Transource Energy is a partnership between American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and Great Plains Energy (NYSE:GXP).

AEP unit Southwestern Electric Power Company announced the new Clarendon-Childress Transmission Line Rebuild Project, which involves replacing an existing 60-mile, 69-kV transmission line in northern Texas in order to ensure reliability and provide adequate supply in the area. Southwestern Electric Power Company expects to complete the project by 2019.

AEP operating unit Indiana Michigan Power announced two new projects in June related to its greater $146m Valley Area Improvements Program. The first is the East Valley Upgrades Project, which involves rebuilding 17 miles of 69-kV transmission line; upgrading about five miles of 34.5-kV line to 69-kV; upgrading about 12 miles of single circuit, 69-kV line to double circuit 69-kV/138-kV standards; and upgrading local substations. The second project associated with the Valley Area Improvements Program is the West Valley Upgrades Project, which involves rebuilding about 25 miles of 69-kV transmission line and upgrading local substations. Both projects will provide a reliable flow of electricity to customers, and be in service in 2021.

Dominion Energy’s (NYSE:D) Dominion Energy Virginia announced the new Possum Point rebuild project, which involves rebuilding the 115-kV Possum Point-Smoketown Line #18 and #145. While the rebuild project proposes to build the lines to be capable of operating at 230 kV, operation of the lines would continue at 115 kV until such time as needed to serve the Northern Virginia Load Area. The estimated $18.8m project is expected to be completed by 2019.

Rocky Mountain Power has plans for a new project that involves building a 140-mile, 500-kV transmission line from a new Aeolus substation to a new Anticline substation; 230-kV transmission line from the Shirley Basin substation to the Aeolus substation; rebuilding four miles of an existing 230-kV transmission line between Aeolus and the existing Freezeout substation; and rebuilding 14 miles of a 230-kV transmission line between the Freezeout and Standpipe substation. The project is part of the greater Gateway West Transmission Project and is expected to become commercially operational by 2020. Rocky Mountain Power is a division of PacifiCorp and part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

AEP’s AEP Ohio and AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) announced the new Dublin West Innovation District Improvements project, which involves a new approximately three-mile, 138-kV transmission line between a substation near Sawmill Road to the Dublin substation in central Ohio. The approximately $12m project is needed to accommodate economic development in the region, and is expected to be energized by 2019.

One project was completed in June. FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) energized its Carriage-Hanville 69-kV Project in Ohio. The approximately 12-mile transmission line will strengthen the local electrical system in the region, and had a final cost of $20m.

Finally, three projects saw changes in June. ITC Holdings received approval from Canada’s National Energy Board for the planned ITC Lake Erie Connector transmission line. The project involves building an underwater, HVDC transmission line under Lake Erie to connect Ontario and Pennsylvania. The project would bring renewable, gas and nuclear generation to the PJM Interconnection grid. The project is being funded independently at an amount of nearly $1bn, and has a targeted in-service date of 2019.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ (ERCOT) Board of Directors endorsed a transmission project that includes two new 345-kV lines to help address future reliability concerns in the growing region of Far West Texas. The new high-voltage power lines would be built by transmission service providers Oncor, American Electric Power Service Corporation (AEPSC), and the Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation, ERCOT said. The project would include a new 345-kV transmission line that would connect the Odessa and Riverton substations, ERCOT said, noting that the line would span about 101 miles across Ector, Winkler, Loving, and Reeves counties. The second new 345-kV transmission line would be located further south in Pecos County, spanning about 68 miles and connecting the Bakersfield and Solstice substations, ERCOT said. The estimated capital cost for those improvements is $336m, ERCOT said, noting that it estimates that the project would be completed in the next four to five years, pending approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) staff recommended that the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) find that the basis of need for AEP Ohio Transco’s Herlan-Blue Racer 138-kV Transmission Line in Monroe County, Ohio, has been demonstrated and therefore complies with specified requirements, provided that any certificate issued by the OPSB include certain conditions. The proposed project involves the installation of a new 138-kV overhead electric transmission line between the Herlan switching station in Seneca Township, which is under construction, and the existing Blue Racer substation in Franklin Township, staff said. The company estimates that the applicable intangible and capital costs for the preferred route are about $6.4m, and about $7m for the alternate route, staff said.