Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) on April 2 filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission an annual report on behalf of itself and Great River Energy (GRE), providing an update on the Hollydale 115-kV Transmission Project.
As noted in the filing, the commission in a 2014 order granted a petition from Xcel and GRE to withdraw applications for a certificate of need and route permit for the Hollydale project; that order also acknowledged the need to address the existing electrical reliability issues in the Plymouth and Medina areas.
The company added in its filing that in early 2017, it proposed an alternative – known as Alternative C – to meet the existing and future electrical needs in the project area. Alternative C consists of:
- Reenergizing the Hollydale-Pomerleau Lake 69-kV line
- Expanding the existing Hollydale substation
- Building the new Pomerleau Lake substation
- Extending the existing 69-kV line 0.5 mile to the new Pomerleau Lake substation
- Building three new 13.8-kV feeders from the Hollydale substation
- Extending one existing 13.8-kV feeder from the Parkers Lake substation
The Plymouth City Council in March 2017 approved Xcel’s permit to build the new Pomerleau Lake substation and the short 69-kV connection from the existing 69-kV line to that new substation. The company also said that in April 2017, the Plymouth City Council approved a land sale to Xcel for the parcel of land upon which the Pomerleau Lake substation will be built. Grading, fencing, foundations, steel, and an electrical enclosure at the Pomerleau Lake substation has been completed, Xcel said. Tree clearing is complete and design for new poles around the GRE Plymouth substation is nearing completion, the company said.
Xcel said that its preliminary timeline for the construction of remaining elements of Alternative C calls for:
- Fall 2018 – Construction to begin on a half-mile of new 69-kV line connecting the Hollydale 69-kV line to the Pomerleau Lake substation
- Winter 2018 – The estimated in-service date for the Pomerleau Lake substation and re-energization of the 69-kV line from Hollydale to the Pomerleau Lake substation
- 2019-2020 – Construction of Hollydale substation upgrades and associated distribution feeders
Xcel and GRE on Sept. 25, 2017 executed an asset purchase agreement for Xcel to acquire the existing 69-kV line from GRE contingent upon regulatory approval. Xcel added that on Sept. 29, 2017, it submitted a petition to the commission for approval to buy the electric transmission facilities and the real property rights associated with the Plymouth-Hollydale-Medina 69-kV line from GRE. At the time of the April 2 compliance filing, that matter is pending commission consideration, the company said.
Xcel noted that on Sept. 27, 2017, it filed for FERC approval of asset acquisition as required under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act. FERC issued its order authorizing acquisition of jurisdictional facilities in November 2017. Xcel added that it will notify the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) of any revisions to each company’s list of facilities that is posted on the MISO website upon consummation of the asset sale.
Xcel also said that in 2017, the distribution feeders in the focused study area – which is an approximately 24-square mile area in Plymouth that includes 13 feeder circuits that experience overload conditions – reached an actual non-coincident peak loading of 115 MW. In 2017, the peak loads exceeded the existing distribution systems’ contingency capacity by 9 MW on the 34.5-kV transformer, by 8 MW on the 13.8-kV feeders, and by 12 MW on the 34.5-kV feeders.
The focused study area peak loads for 2017 are lower than the previous year of 2016 and less than the historic peak year of 2012.
Xcel also discussed public outreach, noting that in December 2017 and January 2018, it notified property owners adjacent to GRE’s existing 69-kV transmission line of Xcel’s agreement to purchase and re-energize the line. The letter also notified property owners that the company would inspect the condition of the poles and conductors, as well as prune trees for the safe operation of the line when it is energized later in 2018.
Among other things, Xcel said that it has continued to expand the number of customers participating in its demand side management programs.