Monthly Project Review February 2018

TransmissionHub presents a roundup of most of the transmission projects covered during February, including the Northern Pass project in New England, Hartburg-Sabine Junction project in Texas, and the Southline Transmission Project on the West Coast.

New England

Starting in New England, after the selection of the Northern Pass transmission project in the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation, other companies issued statements regarding their respective bids in that request for proposals (RFP). For instance, Emera President and CEO Chris Huskilson, said in a Jan. 25 statement that Emera will continue to advance the Atlantic Link transmission project – a proposed 1,000-MW subsea transmission line between Atlantic Canada and southern New England.

An Emera spokesperson in April told TransmissionHub that the Atlantic Link project’s estimated cost is about $2bn.

Separately on Jan. 25, John Flynn, president and COO, U.S. Strategic Growth, National Grid Ventures, said in a statement, in part: “We are disappointed that our projects were not selected in the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP but we firmly believe the Granite State Power Link [(GSPL)] and the Northeast Renewable Link [(NRL)] provide the Commonwealth of Massachusetts a triple-win by delivering the greatest emissions reductions at the lowest cost with minimal environmental or community impact.”

According to a project fact sheet, the GSPL would involve building about 59 miles of new HVDC transmission line from a new converter station in northern Vermont to a new converter station in Monroe, N.H. The project would require an interconnection upgrade to about 109 miles of existing alternating current (AC) transmission lines from Monroe to a new switching station in Londonderry, N.H.

A National Grid spokesperson on Feb. 2 told TransmissionHub that the company anticipates obtaining all permits/approvals by mid-2020, to then start construction. The project’s estimated total cost is $1.1bn, and it is estimated to be in service at the end of 2022.

According to the NRL’s website, that project would involve building a 23-mile, 345-kV AC transmission line from National Grid’s Alps substation in Nassau, N.Y., to Eversource’s Berkshire substation in Hinsdale, Mass.

The National Grid spokesperson on Feb. 2 said that the company anticipates obtaining all permits/approvals by the end of 2019, to then start construction. The project’s estimated total cost is $400m, and it is estimated to be in service at the end of 2021, the spokesperson said.

Another company that responded to the Massachusetts RFP is TDI-New England (TDI-NE), which proposed the $1.6bn New England Clean Power Link (NECPL) project.

Don Jessome, CEO of TDI-NE, in a statement regarding the RFP selection, said, in part, “While we are disappointed by the announcement, we remain fully committed to the project which is well positioned to meet the region’s laudable goal to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years.”

According to the executive summary for the “100% hydro power bid” related to the NECPL, for instance, TDI-NE and Hydro-Québec provided the proposal, which is designed to offer firm deliveries of 1,000 MW of incremental hydroelectric generation imported from the Hydro-Québec system via the NECPL at fixed prices through a 20-year power purchase agreement and transmission service agreement with the state’s distribution companies.

In a Feb. 12 order, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, approved a 40-year lease agreement between Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) and Northern Pass Transmission LLC (NPT) regarding the 192-mile Northern Pass transmission project, conditioned on the issuance to NPT of a certificate of the site and facility from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, which earlier in February denied the Northern Pass project application.

An Eversource spokesperson in April told TransmissionHub that Eversource had invested $277m at the end of 2017 on the $1.6bn project.

In a Feb. 16 statement, AVANGRID (NYSE:AGR) subsidiary Central Maine Power (CMP) said that it proposed the $950m New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project in a joint bid with Hydro-Québec to deliver renewable energy from Québec to the New England grid in response to the Massachusetts RFP. NECEC includes a 145-mile transmission line linking the electrical grids in Québec and New England, CMP said. CMP, in a Feb. 17 filing, told the Maine Public Utilities Commission that the Massachusetts electric distribution companies, in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, have selected the NECEC 100% hydro proposal as the alternative winning bid in the Section 83D Solicitation Process.

Midwest, Southeast

The Midcontinent ISO (MISO) board of directors on Feb. 2 approved a $130m transmission investment to relieve system congestion in East Texas, MISO said, adding that the Hartburg-Sabine Junction 500-kV project qualifies as a market efficiency project and is eligible for MISO’s competitive selection process.

The project – which is expected to be in service in 2023 – includes construction of a 500-kV line with a new substation in East Texas, as well as reconfiguring the existing Sabine-McFadden and Sabine-Nederland transmission lines into the new substation, MISO said.

Also on Feb. 2, Public Utility Commission of Texas staff recommended that the commission approve Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative’s (RCEC) application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) in order to build a new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line. John Poole, an engineering specialist within the commission’s Infrastructure and Reliability Division, presented staff’s recommendations, including that the commission order RCEC to build the proposed line on the estimated $4.7m “Route D,” and that the commission include in its order approving the application certain statements in order to mitigate the impact of the proposed project.

On Feb. 7, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) filed with Texas regulators its comments concerning a 138-kV transmission line in Kent and Scurry counties proposed by Oncor Electric Delivery Company and Brazos Electric Power Cooperative. Of the 144 routes evaluated, “Route 125” appears to best minimize adverse impacts to natural resources, the TPWD said, adding that it recommends that regulators select a route that would minimize adverse impacts to natural resources, such as Route 125. Oncor and Brazos Electric – in their application filed with the commission in December 2017 – said that Alternative Route 125 is about 22.7 miles. Oncor’s portion of the estimated total project cost for Route 125 is about $10.2m, while Brazos Electric’s portion is about $12.2m, according to the companies’ filing.

On Feb. 16, Electric Transmission Texas (ETT) filed with Texas regulators an application to amend its certificates of convenience and necessity for the Stewart Road 345-kV Transmission Line in Hidalgo County, Texas. The consensus opinion of its routing consultant, POWER Engineers, was to recommend Route B3 as the route that best addresses certain requirements, ETT said. According to the filing, Route B3 has an estimated cost of about $16.8m; the AEP Texas Stewart Road substation expansion has an estimated total cost of about $28m. According to the estimated schedule, if approved, construction of the facilities would begin in November 2019, and be completed in May 2020, which is also when the facilities would be energized.

In Ohio, American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) on Jan. 30 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for its proposed Buckley Road-Fremont Center 138-kV Transmission Line Project. According to the application, the company proposes to rebuild 15.4 miles of the existing 17.6-mile Allendale-Fremont Center 69-kV electric transmission line in Seneca and Sandusky counties in Ohio. AEP Ohio Transco added that it plans to begin construction of the line in early 2019, and that the project has an estimated in-service date of winter 2020. Early estimates show the project to be an approximate $22m investment, the company said.

AEP’s Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) on Feb. 5 said that it is planning to upgrade a transmission line east of downtown Fort Wayne, via the $10m South Anthony-Lakeside Transmission Line Rebuild Project. The project is designed to modernize aging infrastructure to continue to provide a reliable flow of electricity to local customers, the company said. According to the project schedule, pre-construction activities will begin in summer 2019; transmission line construction will occur in fall 2019 to summer 2020; and the facilities will be placed in service in summer 2020.

On Feb. 7, I&M said that it has selected the planned transmission line route for the Central South Bend Reliability Project, which includes an approximately two-mile, 69-kV transmission line that will be underground due to the congested and constrained urban path. Pre-construction activities are anticipated to begin in the spring, the company said, adding that construction is estimated to begin in the fall, and the project is expected to be completed in 2020.

An AEP spokesperson in April told TransmissionHub that the estimated cost of the Central South Bend project is $170m.

I&M on Feb. 9, announced the final proposed line route for the New Buffalo Area Improvements Project, which includes rebuilding about seven miles of 69-kV transmission line and replacing wood structures with steel monopoles. Pre-construction activities are anticipated to begin in the summer, and construction is estimated to begin in early 2019, I&M said.

The AEP spokesperson in April also told TransmissionHub that the estimated cost of the New Buffalo project is $27m.

AEP’s Kentucky Power on Feb. 8 said that it is strengthening the power grid and increasing economic development opportunities in eastern Kentucky through the EastPark Transmission Project in Boyd County. Kentucky Power noted that it plans to file for a certificate of public convenience and necessity with the Kentucky Public Service Commission this spring. Upon approval, construction is expected to begin in the fall, and be complete by the end of 2019, the company said.

An AEP spokesperson in April told TransmissionHub that total costs for the EastPark Transmission Project are difficult to pinpoint because of fluctuating variables, adding, “We are still gathering information on the project and will have them available when we file with the Kentucky Public Service Commission in the coming months.”

In Arkansas, a hearing was scheduled for April at the Arkansas Public Service Commission building in Little Rock, Ark., concerning Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation’s (AECC) application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity requesting authority to build, own, and operate certain transmission facilities in Monroe and Lee counties in Arkansas, according to a Feb. 7 order signed by an administrative law judge. In its December 2017 application, AECC requested a commission order by June 1, approving the certificate for a new 23-mile, 69-kV transmission line to serve AECC’s member, Woodruff Electric Cooperative Corporation. The project has an estimated cost of $15m, AECC said.

Also in Arkansas, Entergy’s (NYSE:ETR) Entergy Arkansas, Inc., (EAI), on Feb. 21 told state regulators that project construction and final testing of a new 115-kV switching station, which consists of two 115-kV transmission line segments and a 115-kV, 3-breaker ring bus arrangement and other associated facilities in Arkansas County, Ark., have been completed, with substantially all final costs received as of January. The company said that the project’s total final cost was about $4.96m, and that all of the costs for the electrical facilities are the responsibility of Stuttgart Solar LLC. The project was proposed to provide a generation access point to an 81-MW solar photovoltaic generation facility being built by Stuttgart Solar in Arkansas County.

In Louisiana, construction began on Feb. 6 on Entergy Louisiana’s $100m technological upgrade to its electric power transmission grid in Jefferson Davis Parish, Entergy said, noting that the project will enhance reliability, increase transmission capacity, and help ensure the availability of affordable power. The upgrade covers about 900 square miles, almost all of which is within the parish, and encompasses the construction of some new transmission lines, as well as rebuilding existing lines, the company said. Depending upon weather and other variables, the project will conclude by February 2020, the company said.

In Nebraska, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is working through the permitting process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding NPPD’s R-Project, NPPD COO Tom Kent told TransmissionHub on Feb. 20.

As noted on the project website, NPPD plans to build the 345-kV transmission line from its Gerald Gentleman station near Sutherland to NPPD’s existing substation east of Thedford; the new line would then proceed east and connect to a second substation to be sited in Holt County.

The line would terminate at that new substation – the Holt County substation, located south of Clearwater, Neb. – and interconnect with the 345-kV line that is owned by the Western Area Power Administration, Kent said. Noting that NPPD anticipates about two years for project construction, he said that the project would be operational in “the last quarter of 2020.” The budgetary estimate for the entire project, including substations, transformers and line construction – is about $365m, he said.

East Coast

A Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) hearing examiner, in a Jan. 23 ruling, granted Virginia Electric and Power’s (Dominion Virginia Power) Jan. 19 motion, in which the company requested that a Feb. 8 public hearing regarding its proposed Haymarket 230-kV Double-Circuit Transmission Line and 230-34.5-kV Haymarket Substation project be extended.

A Dominion Energy spokesperson in April told TransmissionHub that the project is expected to cost $176.7m.

In a Feb. 5 final order, the SCC authorized – subject to certain conditions – Dominion Virginia Power to build and operate a rebuild transmission project in Prince William County, Va. As noted in the final order, the company proposes to rebuild, entirely within an existing right of way (ROW) and company owned property, about 8.5 miles of existing 115-kV transmission lines – Possum Point-Smoketown Line #18 and Possum Point-Smoketown Line #145 – located between the existing 115-kV switchyard at the company’s Possum Point power station site and the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative Smoketown Delivery Point, entirely within Prince William County.

The Dominion Energy spokesperson in April also told TransmissionHub that the Possum Point rebuild project is estimated to cost about $18m.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Feb. 8 said that it has approved the application of Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission, LLC, (MAIT), as successor in interest to Pennsylvania Electric Co., to build the $48m Bedford North-Central City West 115-kV HV [(high-voltage)] Transmission Line Project in Bedford and Somerset counties. The new project will enable the bulk electric system to operate reliably and provide adequate capacity to serve future anticipated load growth in the region, the commission said. Construction is scheduled for completion by December, the commission noted.

In Maryland, a state senator was among those who made filings in opposition to Transource’s Independence Energy Connection project. Maryland State Sen. Robert Cassilly, in a Feb. 6 letter to the state Public Service Commission, requested “that the application be denied because the applicant has not demonstrated a need for the selected route that justifies the impact on the interests of the citizens of Harford County.” He said that he opposes the application by which Transource Maryland, LLC, proposes construction of the project through northern Harford County, Md.

An AEP spokesperson on Feb. 13, in response to the filings, told TransmissionHub that PJM Interconnection identified the need for the $320m upgrade to alleviate congestion on the high-voltage electric grid and benefit customers in the region, including parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. If approved by regulators in both states, construction of the project is expected to begin in 2019, with a project in-service date of mid-2020, she said.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission, in a Feb. 22 order, issued to Duke Energy‘s (NYSE:DUK) Duke Energy Progress (DEP) a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to build about 6.91 miles of new 230-kV transmission line in Carteret County, N.C., subject to certain conditions.

As noted in the order, DEP last August sought approval for the construction of the new line between DEP’s existing Havelock-Morehead Wildwood 115-kV North line near the Town of Harlowe, and the existing Havelock-Morehead Wildwood 230-kV line near the Town of Newport. According to a routing study and environmental report that DEP submitted, the proposed in-service date for the new line is about March 2020, and the projected cost is about $32m.

West Coast

The Western Area Power Administration’s (WAPA) Desert Southwest Region and Hunt Power subsidiary Southline Transmission, L.L.C., signed a participation agreement on Jan. 31, committing both parties to developing the Southline Transmission Project, WAPA and Hunt Power said on Feb. 5. Southline Transmission, L.L.C., is the sponsor of the transmission project, according to the statement. The project combines upgrades to WAPA’s existing electrical infrastructure and construction of new transmission lines to provide about 1,000 MW of transmission capacity along a 360-mile path between southern New Mexico and Arizona, the statement noted. Current cost estimates for the project are about $800m, according to an August 2017 document posted on the project’s website. According to the Feb. 5 statement, construction is anticipated to begin in late 2018, with transmission operations phased into service starting in 2020.

Another project in the West Coast, TransWest Express LLC’s TransWest Express Transmission Project has an estimated in-service date of 2021-2022, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Feb. 14.

“With the route over the federal land determined (about two-thirds of the 730-mile route), we have been moving ahead with the work to acquire easements for the state and private land along the route, a Wyoming Industrial Siting permit, and county-level permits,” the spokesperson said.

With 3,000 MW of transmission capacity, the project has an estimated total cost of $3bn, she said.

Separately on Feb. 14, a Southern California Edison (SCE) spokesperson told TransmissionHub that the in-service date for SCE’s approximately $464m (constant 2017 dollars) Alberhill System Project is June 2021.

According to the company’s website, major components of the project include a new 500/115-kV transmission substation, two new 500-kV line segments, a new 115-kV sub-transmission line, and modifications to existing sub-transmission.

In New Mexico, Xcel Energy‘s (NYSE:XEL) Southwestern Public Service (SPS) and the Utility Division Staff of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission entered into a joint stipulation to address staff’s concerns with Sagamore Wind Energy LLC’s November 2017 application for location approval and right of way (ROW) width determination for the Sagamore Wind Energy facility. Sagamore’s application requested that the commission grant approval to locate up to 522 MW nameplate capacity of wind energy generation facilities encompassing about 150,000 acres, and up to 20 miles of 345-kV transmission facilities in Roosevelt County, as well as an ROW width determination for a 180-foot ROW for the proposed transmission line. The current plans are that SPS would build, own, and operate the Sagamore Project, and that it would be operational by Dec. 31, 2020, according to the stipulation.

An Xcel spokesperson in April told TransmissionHub that the total construction cost for building the wind energy facility and the related transmission is estimated at about $825m.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3061 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.