WAPA document indicates $1.6bn investment in assets over next 10 years

The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), in its recently released 2018 State of WAPA’s Assets document, noted that over the next 10 years, WAPA anticipates investing $1.6bn in its assets, more than two-thirds of which will go toward transmission lines and substations.

Discussing the state of the regions, the document noted that the generating resources of the Colorado River Storage Project Management Center (CRSP MC) are the 11 power plants consolidated into a single power rate known as the Salt Lake City Area/Integrated Projects (SLCA/IP). The SLCA/IP has produced an average of 3,967 GWh of energy over the past 10 years, WAPA said in its document, noting that the largest power plant is located at Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Ariz.

The SLCA/IP rate is set through 2020, and will remain unchanged in 2018, WAPA said, adding that the Power Marketing staff will continue marketing efforts for customers, including signing 2025 SLCA/IP power contracts.  

This year, CRSP MC will continue to work with the Department of the Interior to minimize impacts to hydropower from experiments and management actions in Grand Canyon below Glen Canyon Dam, WAPA said.  

The CRSP MC owns 2,325 miles of transmission lines, 36 substations, and 38 transformers, WAPA said.

Of the Desert Southwest (DSW), WAPA noted that the region markets hydroelectric power to about 100 municipalities, cooperatives, federal and state agencies, as well as irrigation districts in California, Arizona, and Nevada from power plants operated at Hoover, Parker, and Davis dams. DSW maintains more than 75 substations; 2,616 miles of transmission lines ranging from 34.5 kV to 500 kV; and 86 communication sites, WAPA said.

In 2019, the Navajo generating station in Arizona is set to close, which will directly affect the Navajo Nation, a WAPA customer. WAPA added that it has worked “over the past several months with the owners and the Navajo Nation to develop a transmission service agreement that provides the tribe with 500 [MW] of transmission capacity on WAPA lines.”

Among other things, WAPA noted that the Southline Transmission Project, paid for by the private partner, would remove about $120m in costs from DSW’s 10-year Capital Plan and, by extension, its customers’ rates. WAPA this year signed a participation agreement with Southline Transmission LLC that contains the parties’ intent to build the project, WAPA said, adding that later in 2018, associated key agreements will be negotiated, including construction, operations and maintenance, ownership and lease agreements.

Of Rocky Mountain (RM), WAPA noted that that region delivers federal and non-federal power through 3,422 miles of transmission lines and 80 substations.

In FY 2018, real-time engineers began monitoring power system operating limits in the RM and DSW systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week. WAPA added that the real-time assessments allow dispatchers to predict and prepare for a spectrum of contingencies in the bulk electric system every half hour and ensures that WAPA is prepared to meet the anticipated NERC reliability standards for monitoring and analyzing real-time contingencies.

WAPA also noted that through participation in the Mountain West Transmission Group, it is considering membership in an RTO for itself and its customers. The decision is expected this year, with the goal of implementing any changes in early 2020.

WAPA further noted that RM plans to address these major transmission projects within the next year:
* Big George-to-North Cody Transmission project – RM will begin installing a new 115-kV line on existing poles between Big George and Cody in northwestern Wyoming. The project includes construction of a new 115-kV yard at the North Cody substation. The additions will provide additional reliability and voltage support in the Cody area

* Substation access control equipment – To increase physical security, WAPA is installing equipment to standardize access control and additional cameras at substations in Colorado and Wyoming

Discussing Sierra Nevada (SN), WAPA noted that that region markets hydroelectric power generated from the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project (CVP) to 93 preference power customers in California, including municipal public power utilities. The CVP federal transmission system is owned, operated, and maintained by WAPA’s SN region and consists of 22 substations, 21 transformers, and 957 miles of transmission line. WAPA added that SN is also the operating agent for the 350-mile California-Oregon Transmission Project, which is one of the three lines forming the California-Oregon Intertie.

Among other things, WAPA noted that in mid-2018, SN expects to execute a project development agreement with Duke-American Transmission Company to build the San Luis Transmission Project, which is a 230-kV line that will deliver Reclamation-generated hydropower to move water deliveries to agricultural and water users.

WAPA also said that precursor project development activities will continue for the proposed Colusa-Sutter (CoSu) Transmission Project and proposed Beale Air Force Base Interconnection Project. SMUD is funding the CoSu project, which, if built, will support local energy reliability and increase SMUD’s ability to import renewable power supplies from the Pacific Northwest, WAPA said. The Beale Air Force project will provide the base access to reliable energy sources that will help bolster security and resilience of that military installation in northern California, WAPA said.

Of the Upper Great Plains (UGP), WAPA noted that that region markets more than 9 million MWh generated at eight dams and power plants in the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program – Eastern Division to more than 339 preference customers – including rural electric cooperatives – in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. UGP delivers hydropower through more than 123 substations with 121 transformers and across 7,923 miles of federal power lines in its 378,000 square-mile service territory.

WAPA added that some projects that will be addressed this year include the:
* Roberts County substation – a new 115/69-kV substation on the Summit-to-Forman 115-kV line to support the East River Electric Cooperative in the northeast corner of South Dakota. The new interconnection will serve the growing load, provide additional voltage support, and enhance system reliability in the event of the loss of the Summit substation

* Martin substation, Stage 07 – UGP is working with LaCreek Electric to take over ownership of the 115-kV yard. The oil breakers, disconnect switches, instrument transformers, and electromechanical relays are being replaced to address reliability concerns. A dedicated transformer breaker will be added to simplify switching and increase reliability

* Brookings substation – to increase reliability for local customers, WAPA will reconfigure the existing substation to a breaker-and-a-half configuration, which will prevent a single event, such as a bus fault, from causing power outages for the city of Brookings, S.D., South Dakota State University, and several manufacturing facilities in the area

WAPA also said that this year, it will continue to strengthen the resilience of its systems and its people by increasing training, testing, and exercises designed to mature its cybersecurity and physical security capabilities. WAPA said that it will maintain a status of proactive response by, for instance, resolving 90% of its cybersecurity events within two days.

Among other things, WAPA said that it is exploring multiple options for coordinating reliability after 2019. WAPA noted that it has submitted notices of withdrawal for its four balancing authorities (BAs) to depart Peak Reliability Coordinator (RC), effective Sept. 2, 2019.

WAPA’s Upper Great Plains West and Western Area Colorado Missouri BAs submitted letters of intent to receive RC services from the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) beginning in fall 2019, WAPA said, adding that its Western Area Lower Colorado BA is considering SPP and the California ISO (CAISO) as potential providers for RC services. WAPA also noted that in California, in coordination with the Balancing Authority of Northern California, WAPA’s sub-balancing authority sent a letter of intent to CAISO for RC services.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.