SPP files draft 2018 STEP Report summarizing 2017 transmission planning activities

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission a draft of the 2018 SPP Transmission Expansion Plan (STEP) Report, dated Jan. 5, that summarizes 2017 transmission planning activities that impact future development of the SPP transmission grid.

The SPP Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on Jan. 30, and SPP anticipates that the board will consider and vote on the STEP Report at that time, according to the SPP filing, which was received by the commission on Jan. 19.

SPP said in the filing that the STEP Report includes upgrades required to satisfy requests for transmission service; upgrades required to satisfy requests for generator interconnection service; and approved projects from the Integrated Transmission Planning (ITP) 20-year, 10-year, and near-term assessments.

The 2018 STEP consists of 445 upgrades with a total cost of $4.96bn, SPP said.

SPP noted that after its board approves transmission expansion projects or once service agreements are executed, SPP issues notifications to construct (NTC) letters to appropriate transmission owners. SPP said that in 2017, it issued 30 NTC letters with estimated construction costs of $263.2m for 71 projects to be built over the next five years through 2023. Of that $263.2m, the upgrade cost breakdown includes $140.9m for transmission service and $28.7m for “high priority,” SPP said.

SPP noted that as of Dec. 20, 2017, 36 upgrades totaling about $245.6m were completed during the year, including 19 ITP projects, totaling $163.9m.

Discussing transmission service, SPP said that it conducts the Aggregate Transmission Service Study (ATSS) process to determine if the SPP transmission system and neighboring transmission providers can accommodate requests for long-term firm transmission service. During 2017, SPP completed two aggregate facilities studies within a certain timeframe, SPP said, noting that there were a combined 81 requests with a requested capacity of 5,076 MW.

The 2017-AG2 Aggregate Facility Study is underway and will be posted to the Transmission Service Studies page by May 14, SPP said, adding that there are 28 requests with a requested capacity of 1,561 MW in that study.

Discussing generator interconnections (GIs), SPP said that from Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 15, 2017, it received 239 GI requests and 24 – withdrawn and incomplete – affected system GI requests, compared to the 184 GI requests and nine affected system study requests received through the same period in 2016.

As of Dec. 15, 2017, there were 406 active GI queue requests under study for 74,306 MW, and nine requests had been removed from “study” status either from being withdrawn by the customer or SPP or by the customer executing a generator interconnection agreement (GIA), SPP said.

SPP also noted that the 2017 ITP Near-Term (ITPNT) Assessment was completed and approved by its board in April 2017. The 2017 ITPNT analyzed the region’s immediate transmission needs over the near-term planning horizon. SPP added that it performed analyses identifying potential bulk power system reliability needs, and developed a draft list of 69-kV and above solutions necessary to provide reliable service in the SPP region in the near-term planning horizon.

The net total study STEP impact of the 2017 ITPNT project plan is estimated to be $23.45m, SPP said, adding that there are 25 proposed upgrades making up 16 projects in the project plan. Of the 16 proposed projects, 15 will be recommended for issuance of new NTCs, SPP said, noting that one project has been identified as needing a modified NTC (NTC Modify). That net impact includes $60.34m for new projects and a reduction of $37m for withdrawn NTCs identified in the 2017 ITPNT Assessment, SPP said.

The 25 upgrades that received an NTC, NTC-C, or NTC Modify solved 40 thermal and 68 voltage needs on the SPP transmission system, SPP said, adding that project plan mileage consists of 26 miles of new transmission line and 35 miles of rebuild/reconductor line.

The 2018 ITPNT assessment is in progress and SPP intends to finalize the report and portfolio in July.

SPP added that NTCs from the 2017 10-Year ITP Assessment (ITP10) were issued last year, and includes such projects as American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) approximately $4.8m “Siloam Springs-Siloam Springs City 161 kV Ckt 1 Rebuild.”

SPP noted that its staff proposed the construction of a 345-kV transmission line from the Potter 345-kV substation to the Tolk 345-kV substation as a part of its recommended 2017 ITP10 assessment portfolio. With review and requested feedback, staff developed a study scope that contained such elements as calculating 40-year benefits. SPP added that staff presented their findings to the board during its April 2017 meeting, with a recommendation for the removal of the Potter to Tolk 345-kV line from the 2017 ITP10 portfolio. The board approved the recommendation and the project was removed from the portfolio, SPP said.

SPP noted that High Priority Incremental Load Study (HPILS) projects included in the 2018 STEP List include Southwestern Public Service’s (SPS) approximately $104.7m “Multi-Hobbs-Yoakum 345/230 kV Ckt 1.”

Among other things, SPP also discussed interregional planning, noting that throughout last year, it continued participation in joint planning and coordination processes with three different neighboring entities.

The SPP-Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. (AECI) Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), for instance, requires that a Joint Coordinated System Plan (JCSP) study be performed every other year to assure the reliable, efficient, and effective operation of the transmission system along the SPP-AECI seam. The study concluded in January 2017, with the SPP-AECI Joint Planning Committee approving two projects.
SPP added that the Morgan Transformer Project, for instance, includes the addition of a new 345/161-kV transformer at AECI’s existing Morgan substation in addition to an uprate of the 161-kV line between Morgan and Brookline. The project’s estimated engineering and construction costs are $13.75m, SPP said, noting that SPP and AECI agreed to a cost share where SPP would be responsible for 89% of the project, or $12.25m.

FERC in October 2017 issued an order rejecting the cost allocation for the proposed projects identified under the joint planning process – including the Morgan project – and in so doing, rejecting the proposed projects. SPP added that its staff is evaluating the FERC order and developing next steps for cost allocation of the two joint projects.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 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.