Monthly Project Review April 2018

TransmissionHub presents a roundup of most of the transmission projects covered during April, including the approximately $285m, 60-mile, 345-kV Brazos Valley Connection project in Texas; the $60m, 10.5-mile, 230-kV Oakville-Alliance 230-kV Transmission Line in Louisiana; and the $15m Pax Branch Transmission Line Upgrade project in West Virginia.

Midwest/South

In Texas, for instance, CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) on April 2 said that its 60-mile, 345-kV Brazos Valley Connection project in Texas was energized on March 29.

The line – which runs from Grimes County through Waller County, ending in Harris County, Texas – is the southern portion of the Houston Import Project, the company said.

A company spokesperson on April 2 told TransmissionHub that the two substations involved are the Gibbons Creek substation, owned by Texas Municipal Power Authority, and the Zenith substation, owned by CenterPoint Energy.

CenterPoint said in its statement that its total project capital cost is about $285m.

According to an April 5 proposed order prepared by the Public Utility Commission of TexasDocket Management section, the commission approves the application of Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative to amend Rayburn’s certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to include a new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line within Fannin County, as modified by a unanimous agreement executed by the proceeding’s parties.

According to the proposed order, the line runs between a planned substation to be built by Fannin County Electric Cooperative (Fannin) and a new tap point station located along Oncor Electric Delivery Company’s existing Valley-Paris switching station 138-kV transmission line.

The proposed order also noted that the project’s agreed route, or “route D,” is the second least expensive route with an estimated cost of about $4.7m, as well as the shortest route at 6.20 miles.

An April 6 proposal for decision by a State Office of Administrative Hearings administrative law judge (ALJ) calls for the approval of Oncor’s July 2017 application to amend a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for its proposed Riverton-Sand Lake 345/138-kV transmission line in Loving, Reeves, and Ward counties in Texas.

The ALJ noted that at the conclusion of a March 1 hearing on the merits, all parties appearing at the hearing announced their agreement or non-opposition to the selection of the approximately 38.78-mile “Route 54” for the project. That route is estimated to cost about $49.9m, excluding station costs. The ALJ added that about $8.8m in station costs associated with the facilities at the Riverton and Sand Lake switching stations are also included in the project – including those costs, Route 54 is estimated to cost about $58.6m.

An April 9 unopposed stipulation and agreement filed by the City of Garland, Texas, (Garland), d/b/a Garland Power & Light (GP&L), with the Public Utility Commission of Texas calls for the approval of Garland’s application regarding a 138-kV transmission line, and that a transmission line “settlement route,” be approved by the commission.

As noted in a proposed order attached to the filing, Garland seeks approval to amend its CCN to include the new single-circuit line on primarily double-circuit-capable steel and/or concrete single-pole structures in Hunt County between Texas Municipal Power Agency’s Shelby substation and GP&L’s expansion of Greenville Electric Utility System’s Dent Road substation.

The estimated cost of the settlement route – which is 30,076 feet long – is $7.14m, according to the proposed order.

AEP Texas Inc., and Brazos Electric Power Cooperative on April 20 filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Texas a stipulation intended to represent the agreement among certain parties to support the commission’s approval of a stipulation route – Route C – for the Brazos Electric Gyp to AEP Texas Benjamin 138-kV Transmission Line in King and Knox counties in Texas.

As noted in the stipulation, the new single-circuit 138-kV transmission line runs between the proposed Brazos Electric Gyp switching station and the AEP Texas Benjamin substation. The stipulation said that the total length of the right of way (ROW) for Route C is 19.66 miles.

Noting that the estimated cost for the line along Route C is $20.04m, the proposed order said that the estimated cost of the AEP Texas’ additional station facilities that are required to connect the project at the existing Benjamin substation is about $3.4m, while the estimated cost to build the new Brazos Electric switching station is about $5.7m. The project’s total estimated cost, including the station estimated costs, is about $29.1m, the proposed order said.

Noting that construction crews expanding the electric transmission infrastructure in southeast New Mexico and portions of Texas are having a busy year, Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) – in its April 19 “Power for the Plains Update” – said that about 90 miles of new transmission lines have been energized, while another 150 miles are expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Xcel Energy noted that as part of its Power for the Plains initiative, it has invested in more than 800 miles of new transmission lines since 2011 in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. More than 700 additional miles of transmission line are planned to be built through 2021, the company said, adding that since 2011, more than 30 new substations have been built, while nearly 40 others have been upgraded. The company noted that another 27 substations will be built or upgraded through 2021, and that the transmission expansion represents more than a $3bn investment.

Entergy’s (NYSE:ETR) Entergy Louisiana said that it has put into service a major element of a multi-million dollar program to enhance service reliability to Plaquemines Parish customers and meet the needs of a growing economy – that is, a new $60m, 10.5-mile, 230-kV transmission line between the Oakville substation, off Walker Road in Belle Chasse, and the Alliance substation, west of Louisiana Highway 23 near the Phillips 66 refinery.

A company spokesperson on April 13 told TransmissionHub that the name of that line is the Oakville-Alliance 230-kV Transmission Line.

Entergy said that the last phase of the project will be to build about seven miles of new 34-kV distribution line on the lower portion of the new steel transmission structures along Highway 23.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission, in an April 5 order, extended the time – to 120 days – in which it must issue a decision in a case involving a 345-kV electric transmission line proposed by Big Rivers Electric Corporation (Big Rivers).  

The proposed project – which is part of the 2015 Midcontinent ISO (MISO) Transmission Expansion Plan – would be about 31 miles long extending from the Big Rivers’ Coleman Extra High Voltage (EHV) substation in Hancock to the Duff substation located in Dubois County, Ind., the commission said in its order.

The Kentucky portion of the proposed line would be about 3.3 miles long, the commission said.

As noted in Big Rivers’ March application, the total cost of the Kentucky portion from the Coleman EHV substation to the Indiana state line, including the purchase price of the necessary easements in Kentucky, is estimated to be $6m.

In South Dakota, Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources (NEER), on April 11 filed with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission an application for a facility permit in relation to Crowned Ridge’s proposal to build an approximately seven-mile, single-circuit, 230-kV generation tie line from the collector substation at the Crowned Ridge Wind II (CRW II) wind project to a dead-end transmission structure adjacent to the collector substation at Crowned Ridge Wind (CRW).

As noted in the application, the purpose of the tie line (referred to as the project) – located in Codington County, S.D. – connecting the two wind projects is to allow for the generation from both wind projects to utilize one generation transmission tie corridor from the CRW collector substation to the Big Stone South 230-kV substation located near Big Stone, S.D.

The application added that the commercial operations dates for the CRW and CRW II are projected to be Dec. 31, 2019. The application also noted that the estimated construction cost of the proposed seven-mile transmission line and associated facilities is about $10m.

NextEra Energy Transmission MidAtlantic, LLC (NEET MidAtlantic) on April 20 filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to own, operate, and maintain – as well as to provide transmission service to the public using – transmission facilities that the company has contracted to acquire from the City of Rochelle, Ill., (Rochelle) as a public utility.

NEET MidAtlantic has negotiated and entered into an asset purchase agreement (APA), with Rochelle, acting through its Rochelle Municipal Utilities (RMU) division, to acquire the transmission facilities and system currently operated by RMU in Rochelle and nearby areas.

The application also noted that the transmission facilities that NEET MidAtlantic is contracted to acquire from Rochelle under the APA consist of about 20 miles of 138-kV transmission lines, as well as transmission assets at two substations, Caron Road and Twombly.

Based on the currently projected purchase price for the transmission facilities of $12.6m, NEET MidAtlantic’s initial capitalization would be about $7.6m equity and $5m debt.

American Transmission Company (ATC) on April 20 told the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that the Spring Valley-N. Lake Geneva Project is in design for the transmission lines and two of the four substations associated with the project.

As noted on the company’s website, the project includes construction of a new approximately 23-mile, 138-kV transmission line stretching from the existing North Lake Geneva substation in southern Walworth County to the existing Spring Valley.

The project’s anticipated in-service date is Dec. 31, 2019, ATC said. The company also noted that gross project expenditures as of March 31, were about $17.2m, or 24.3%, of the authorized total of $70.6m.

ATC, in an April 23 quarterly progress report for the period Jan. 1 through March 31 regarding its Bunker Hill-Blackbrook (M13) Project, told the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that construction in the rebuild section between the Bunker Hill and Blackbrook substations is now complete.

The demolition of the old M13 line between Bunker Hill and Blackbrook is also complete, the company said, adding that restoration work on the right of way (ROW) in that area will continue this spring. The final phase of T-line construction will start late this year, with all work scheduled to be complete by spring 2019, the company said.

Expenditures as of March 31 were about $21.5m, or about 72%, of the authorized total of about $29.7m, ATC said.

ATC, in a separate April 23 quarterly progress report for the period Jan. 1 through March 31 regarding its Riverside Project, told the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that it would begin construction at the Kittyhawk substation in late April.

As noted in the commission’s Jan. 12 final decision, the West Riverside interconnection project includes 345-kV electric transmission facilities required to connect the West Riverside Electric Generation facility (West Riverside) to ATC’s existing electric transmission system.

In its April 23 filing, ATC said that construction on the transmission line will begin in July, and remote end construction will begin in March 2019. ATC said that the project’s anticipated in-service date is April 19, 2019.

Gross project expenditures as of March 31, were about $7.4m, or 17.5%, of the authorized total of about $42.1m, the company said.

ATC on April 24 provided an update to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on the company’s St. Martins-Edgewood-Mukwonago Rebuild Project, saying that the project remains on schedule for completion in June 2019.

ATC noted that the “actual project costs as of March 31” were about $3.6m out of the approved approximately $24.7m.

ATC separately on April 24 told the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that the Branch River Electric Reliability Project was placed in service on Feb. 28.

Restoration and minor site work is in progress, the company added in its quarterly progress report for the period Jan. 1 through March 31.

Actual project costs through March 31 were about $27m, out of the “ordered” approximately $40.9m, the company said.

The Boscobel to Lone Rock (Line Y124) Rebuild Project continues to be on schedule for a December 2019 in-service date, ATC told Wisconsin regulators in another April 24 quarterly progress report for the period Jan. 1 through March 31.

Detailed transmission line design activities continue, ATC said, adding that the first phase of vegetation management is complete and that the remaining vegetation management will be completed in the fall.

Detailed substation design activities continue as well, the company said.

Actual project costs as of March 31 were about $5.6m, out of the approved approximately $32.4m, ATC said.

East Coast

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) on April 5 said that it has filed an application with the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) for the planned rebuild of the Moses to Adirondack transmission lines in northern New York.

NYPA’s proposed Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project would use existing rights of way (ROWs) to rebuild 86 miles of transmission lines.

“The Smart Path Reliability project is still in the design phase, but as per the application NYPA submitted to the PSC, we anticipate the project will cost approximately $483 million for the first phase (replacement of the wooden transmission poles along 76 miles of the lines) and approximately $185 million for the second phase [of] the project (replacement of the old steel transmission poles along 8 miles of the lines),” a NYPA spokesperson told TransmissionHub on April 9. “We anticipate concluding work [on] Phase 1 in 2023.”

The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, in an advisory opinion to the state Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB), said that the 6.8-mile, 345-kV Burrillville Interconnection Project is needed to connect the proposed Clear River Energy Center (CREC) to the New England electric system.

As noted in the advisory opinion, Narragansett Electric d/b/a National Grid and Clear River Energy LLC in February 2017 filed with the EFSB a joint application to connect the proposed CREC to the electric transmission system by building the project.

A National Grid spokesperson on April 12 told TransmissionHub that the new transmission line would extend from Invenergy’s proposed location for its CREC in Burrillville, R.I., to National Grid’s Sherman Road switching station, which is located about 6.8 miles away in Burrillville.

The commission said that National Grid developed a conceptual grade estimate for the Burrillville Interconnection Project of $47.2m.

South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) on April 11 notified the Public Service Commission of South Carolina that the Graniteville-South Augusta 230-kV Tie Line, originally scheduled to be in service by May 31, 2019, is now planned to be in service by June 1, 2020, as a result of Southern Company’s (NYSE:SO) schedule for completion of its portion of the line.

As TransmissionHub reported, the commission last November granted to SCE&G a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity for the construction and operation of two 230-kV transmission lines – the Graniteville-South Augusta line and the Urquhart-Graniteville #2 230-kV Line – and associated facilities in Aiken County.

In its April 11 filing, SCE&G said that it expects the construction of its portion of the Graniteville-South Augusta line to be substantially complete by May 31, 2019, with only the pulling of the last span of conductor from the last SCE&G pole to the first Southern Company pole left to be completed.

The company also said that the Urquhart-Graniteville line remains on schedule.

A SCANA (NYSE:SCG) spokesperson on April 12 told TransmissionHub that SCE&G expects to complete its Urquhart-Graniteville line work by May 31, 2019.

The total cost for both lines and associated facilities, including incidental projects, is about $30m, she said.

SCE&G is a SCANA company.

American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) Appalachian Power on April 18 said that it and its affiliate, AEP West Virginia Transmission Company, are working on improving electric power reliability to customers by upgrading the transmission systems in Fayette County, W.Va., through the $15m Pax Branch Transmission Line Upgrade project.

According to a project fact sheet, the project consists of rebuilding about six miles of the Pax Branch-Scarbro 46-kV transmission line to 69-kV standards.

Survey work is expected to begin this summer, with pre-construction activities to begin this fall, the company said. The project is expected to be complete by summer 2019, the company said.

PPL’s (NYSE:PPL) PPL Electric Utilities on April 19 filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission a letter of notification to request approval to rebuild an approximately 6.4-mile section of existing double-circuit, 138-kV transmission line, which, the company said, would help ensure reasonably continuous and reliable service to customers located in Monroe County.

The line is located between a structure located just south of the PPL Electric Gilbert 138-12-kV substation located in Polk Township, Monroe County, and a structure located at the junction with the de-energized Little Gap 69-kV Transmission Tap to the PPL Electric Little Gap 69/12-kV substation located in Eldred Township, Monroe County (Gilbert-Little Gap Tap #1 and #2 138 kV Transmission Line).

The total estimated cost to design and build the project is $5.9m, the company said.

Subject to the commission’s approval, project construction is scheduled to begin in July to support an in-service date of July 2019, the company said.

Virginia State Corporation Commission staff, in an April 27 report filed with the commission, concluded that Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Energy Virginia has reasonably demonstrated the need for the proposed underground Idylwood-Tysons 230-kV single-circuit transmission line.

The company proposes to, for instance, build the new single-circuit, 230-kV underground transmission line, designated 230-kV Idylwood-Tysons Line #2175, to run about 4.3 miles from the company’s existing Idylwood substation to the company’s existing Tysons substation.

Staff added that the project, which is located entirely in Fairfax County, Va., and has an expected in-service date of June 2022, is estimated to cost $121.8m.

West Coast

The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) on April 13 said that it has published the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Estes-Flatiron Transmission Lines Rebuild Project, which involves rebuilding and consolidating two transmission lines between the Estes substation and Flatiron substation, west of Loveland, Colo.

The final EIS defines the proposed route – also called the agency preferred alternative (APA) – for rebuilding a single, double-circuit power line that would replace two 60-year-old transmission lines. The APA route, announced in December 2016, mostly follows existing transmission line rights of way (ROWs) to minimize environmental impacts, WAPA said.

WAPA said that if it decides to rebuild the line following the final EIS recommendation, construction would begin no earlier than May 2019.

A WAPA spokesperson on April 13 told TransmissionHub: “The project is estimated at $16.6 million for construction work. $19.7 million for the 80-year life cycle of the project, including operations and maintenance.” 

The proposed project extends between Lake Estes on the east side of Estes Park and WAPA’s Flatiron substation, the final EIS said, adding that the project area analyzed in the final EIS encompasses lands east of the Town of Estes Park and west of the City of Loveland, and includes private lands in Larimer County, as well as public lands administered by the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Colorado State Land Board, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, and Larimer County. Major transportation corridors are U.S. Highways 34 and 36, the final EIS noted.

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, in an order dated April 16, granted an application by DesertLink, LLC, with the commission stating that the requested Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA) permit to construct – authorizing DesertLink to build the 500-kV Harry Allen to Eldorado Project – shall be issued, following satisfaction of certain compliance items.

The project involves an approximately 60-mile electrical transmission line and related facilities to be located in Clark County, Nev.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3233 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.