Monthly Project Review May 2018

TransmissionHub presents a roundup of most of the transmission projects covered during May, including Entergy Texas, Inc.’s $66m, 230-kV China-Stowell Transmission Project and PSEG Long Island’s new 138-kV, underground transmission line in the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, N.Y.

South/Midwest

Starting in West Virginia, American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) Appalachian Power on May 1 said that it and its affiliate, AEP West Virginia Transmission Company, have announced plans to upgrade the electric transmission system in Jackson and Mason counties, through the $60m Ravenswood Area Improvements Project. The project includes rebuilding about 30 miles of 69-kV transmission line and upgrading associated facilities to ensure continued reliable electric service for customers, Appalachian Power said. Construction on the project is expected to start in fall 2019, and be complete by the end of 2021, Appalachian Power said.

Entergy (NYSE:ETR) on May 1 said that construction has officially launched on Entergy Texas, Inc.’s $66m, 230-kV China-Stowell Transmission Project, which the company said is designed to ensure reliable, low-cost power for Entergy Texas’ customers. When completed in 2019, the project will feature 25 miles of high-voltage transmission lines that span from just west of China in Jefferson County to the Stowell substation in Chambers County, the company said.

Entergy Texas President and CEO Sallie Rainer said in the statement, in part, that over the next three years, the company plans to invest almost $2bn to improve how it serves customers.

Entergy said that those capital investments, which will allow for expansion in southeast Texas and improve electrical service to customers in the 27 counties that Entergy Texas serves, include: $825m in new power generation; $600m in transmission projects; and $415m in distribution upgrades.

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) on May 7 said that a new 138-kV transmission line and substation would be energized in May to enhance service reliability for Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers across northern Ohio. The project includes the new line, which extends about 28 miles between existing substations in Erie and Sandusky counties, the company said.

A FirstEnergy spokesperson on May 10 told TransmissionHub that the project is the Hayes-West Fremont 138-kV Transmission Project, and that the new substation under construction near Bellevue is the Groton substation.

FirstEnergy said that the new facilities were on schedule to be energized ahead of a May 31 in-service deadline. The project costs more than $50m, the company said.  

AEP’s Southwestern Electric Power Co., (SWEPCO), on May 8 said the Arkansas Public Service Commission has determined that the $4.5bn Wind Catcher Energy Connection project is in the public interest. The commission’s decision approved provisions of a settlement agreement submitted in a Feb. 20 joint motion by the commission’s General Staff, the Arkansas Attorney General, SWEPCO, Walmart Stores, Inc., and Sam’s West, Inc., SWEPCO said.

The project includes the acquisition of a 2,000-MW wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and construction of an approximately 350-mile dedicated power line that will carry the wind energy to the Tulsa area, the company said. SWEPCO said that it will own 70% of the project, while its sister company, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), will own 30%. The wind farm is under development by Invenergy in Cimarron and Texas counties in the Oklahoma Panhandle, SWEPCO said, adding that it and PSO will purchase the facility at completion, which is scheduled for 4Q20.

In other news regarding the Wind Catcher project, administrative law judges (ALJs) at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), in a May 18 proposal for decision, called for SWEPCO’s application for certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) authorization to acquire an interest in the project to be approved, subject to certain conditions. To ensure that customers realize a net reduction in costs, SWEPCO should be required to provide certain guarantees, the ALJs said.

A SWEPCO spokesperson on May 22 told TransmissionHub: “We are evaluating the proposal for decision that was issued by the administrative law judges on May 18 as part of the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ ongoing review process. The [proposal for decision] will be on the June 28 [commission] agenda.”

Oncor Electric Delivery Company on May 11 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas an application for a certificate of convenience and necessity for the proposed double-circuit Dune Switch Loop 138-kV Transmission Line Project. The approximately two-mile line would be built on steel or concrete monopole structures between the proposed Dune Switch station and the existing Oncor Wink-Yukon 138-kV transmission line in Winkler County, Texas.

The transmission facilities portion of the project has an estimated total cost of about $2.9m, while the substation facilities portion has an estimated total cost of about $4m, Oncor said. According to the project’s estimated schedule, construction of the facilities would begin in December and be completed in April 2019, which is also when the facilities would be energized.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a May 11 order, approved the application filed last August by Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative to amend its CCN for a new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line within Fannin County, as modified by an executed agreement that resolves all of the issues between the parties to the proceeding. As noted in the order, the line will be between a planned substation to be built by Rayburn’s member, Fannin County Electric Cooperative, and a new tap point station, located on Oncor’s existing Valley-Paris 138-kV transmission line.

The project will supply wholesale power to a delivery point at the new Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir to be built by Fannin that will be used to serve the North Texas Municipal Water District’s (North Texas MWD) raw-water pumping station and related facilities associated with North Texas MWD’s proposed reservoir. The commission said that the agreed route best moderates the impact of the project and best meets the commission’s routing criteria because it, for instance, is the third least expensive route with an estimated cost of about $4.7m, and the second shortest route at 6.20 miles.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a May 11 order, approved, as amended, Oncor’s July 2017 application to amend its CCN in order to build a new double-circuit-capable, 345-kV transmission line, with one circuit initially installed and operated at 138 kV. As noted in the order, the Riverton-to-Sand Lake transmission line in Loving, Reeves, and Ward counties extends from Oncor’s Riverton switching station currently under construction in Reeves County, to Oncor’s proposed Sand Lake switching station, to be located about six miles northeast of the City of Pecos on the northwest side of Farm-to-Market Road 3398 in Ward County.

The approximately 38.78-mile Route 54 is estimated to cost about $49.9m, excluding station costs, the commission said, adding that about $8.8m in station costs associated with the facilities at the Riverton switching station and Sand Lake switching station are included in the transmission line. Including those costs, route 54 is estimated to cost about $58.6m, the commission noted.

Dayton Power and Light (DP&L), a wholly owned subsidiary of AES Corporation, on May 17 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the proposed West Milton-Eldean 138-kV Transmission Line Project, which involves the construction of a single-circuit transmission line within Miami County, Ohio. The proposed project would consist of the construction and operation of the single 138-kV circuit line for improved reliability of electric service for DP&L’s northwest area of their service territory, the company said.

The project would originate at the existing West Milton substation, located just south of the village of West Milton in Miami County, Ohio (Union Township), DP&L said. The project would extend along the west side of West Milton – outside of the village’s limits – to a point south of the town of Ludlow Falls, then head east adjacent to State Route 55, north adjacent to Forest Hill Road, and then across agricultural land toward the northwest (Concord Township) until the route reaches the Eldean substation, located on Experiment Farm Road, DP&L said. Both the preferred and alternate route are 16.6 miles long, the company said. According to the filing, the preferred route has a total estimated cost of about $9.9m, while the alternate route has a total estimated cost of $10.2m. According to the project’s schedule, construction is set to occur from June 2021 to May 2022.

AEP’s Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) on May 18 said that it expects to complete the estimated $92m, 138-kV Granger-Benton Harbor Transmission Line Rebuild Project in early 2022. The project includes rebuilding about 46 miles of line and replacing existing lattice structures with steel monopoles, the company said, adding that most of the line will be rebuilt using I&M’s existing right of way (ROW). The line travels north out of Granger, Ind., across the state line into the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor areas of Michigan, the company said. Project construction will occur in these four phases: Phase 1 Granger, Ind., to Niles, Mich. – spring 2019 to early 2020; Phase 2 St. Joseph, Mich., area – summer 2019 to early 2020; Phase 3 Benton Harbor to Niles, Mich. – early 2020 to summer 2021; and Phase 4 Benton Harbor area – summer 2020 to fall 2021.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff, in a March 18 report filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), said that AEP Ohio Transmission Company’s (AEP Ohio Transco) proposed Ross-Ginger Switch 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project would allow the transmission system to provide safe and reliable electric service.

“Staff recommends that the board find that the basis of need for the project has been demonstrated and therefore complies with” certain requirements, provided that any certificate issued by the OPSB for the proposed project include conditions specified in the staff report, staff said.

The project is part of the company’s broader Ross-Jackson Area Improvements Project, staff added. Staff noted that the proposed Ross-Ginger Switch project involves installing a new 138-kV, overhead electric transmission line between the Ginger Switch station and the existing Poston-Ross Transmission Line, north of County Road 222 (Narrows Road). The company’s preferred route is about 4.8 miles long, and predominantly parallels the southern edge of the existing Berlin-Ross 69-kV Transmission Line. As TransmissionHub reported last December, the preferred route has a total estimated cost of about $10.1m.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff, in a May 18 report filed with the OPSB, said that AEP Ohio Transco has demonstrated the basis of need of the company’s proposed Bell Ridge-Devola 138-kV Transmission Line Project due to the reliability issues caused by the age of the existing 23-kV transmission system. The proposed $12.3m project, which would be located in Washington County, Ohio, would provide additional transmission service to the county, ultimately improving electric service reliability in the southeastern Ohio area, staff said. AEP Ohio Transco proposes to place the line in service in fall 2020, staff noted.

Written comments on the final environmental impact statement (EIS) regarding American Transmission Company’s (ATC) proposed Mount Pleasant Tech Interconnection Project will be accepted until June 21, according to the final EIS document prepared jointly by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The document noted that the commission will consider the final EIS when it makes its final decision on the project, with that decision expected in August. A public hearing for the project will be held on June 21, the document noted.

ATC in late January filed with the commission an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN), seeking authority to build the new 345/138-kV Mount Pleasant substation in the village of Mount Pleasant in Racine County, and to build 345-kV transmission lines to interconnect with ATC’s existing 345-kV transmission network. The project includes installation of new 138-kV underground cables from the new Mount Pleasant substation to a proposed new substation that would be owned by Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn), the final EIS said, adding that the Foxconn substation construction is not part of the proposed project. The project is estimated to cost between $117m and $120m based on the route selected, the final EIS said.

Ameren (NYSE:AEE) on May 23 said that its wholly owned subsidiary, Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI), has begun construction of the $250m, 96-mile, 345-kV Mark Twain Transmission Project, which also involves a substation, to be built in northeast Missouri. The project is designed to bolster energy reliability for the region, Ameren said. ATXI, during the week of May 14, broke ground on the site of the Zachary substation adjacent to the existing Adair substation in Adair County, Mo., Ameren said.

Electric Transmission Texas (ETT), in a May 25 application filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said that it is proposing to design and build a new 345-kV transmission line in Foard County, Texas, to interconnect a new wind facility. The proposed line would be built as a single-circuit line on double-circuit-capable tubular steel monopole structures, ETT said, adding that the line would extend from the ETT Edith Clarke 345-kV station to the new Foard City substation, which will be owned by the generator, Foard City Wind, LLC.

The number of miles of ROW for the proposed project is about 2.6 miles, ETT said, noting that the number of miles of circuit would be about 2.7 miles. According to the estimated schedule, if the project is approved, construction of the facilities would begin in January 2019, and be completed in May 2019, which is when the facilities would be energized. The transmission facilities would cost about $7.5m, and the substation facilities would cost about $5.3m, ETT said.

Xcel Energy’s (NYSE:XEL) Southwestern Public Service (SPS), in a May 25 application filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said that it is proposing to build and operate an approximately 14.59-mile, single-circuit, 230-kV transmission line between the existing TUCO substation and the new Hale Wind Collection substation – that will serve a 478-MW wind generation plant and associated facilities – both located in Hale County, Texas.

The proposed line – or the proposed project – is required to interconnect the Hale Wind Project to the SPS system and would originate at the TUCO substation, located about 0.8 mile southeast from the intersection of Interstate 27 and FM 54, in Hale County. SPS added that the proposed project would terminate at the Hale Wind Collection substation about 1.7 miles northeast of the intersection of FM 400 and County Road 275 in Hale County. The project’s estimated total cost is about $9.4m, consisting of about $9.3m for transmission facilities, and $124,174 for substation facilities, SPS said.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff, in a May 23 report filed with the OPSB, recommended that the OPSB find that the basis of need for AEP Ohio Transco’s proposed Rouse-Bell Ridge 138-kV Transmission Line Project has been demonstrated and therefore complies with certain requirements, provided that any certificate issued by the OPSB for the proposed project include conditions. Such conditions include that the project be installed on the company’s preferred route; that the company conduct a preconstruction conference prior to the start of any construction activities; and that the company conduct no in-water work in perennial streams from April 15 through June 30 to reduce impacts to indigenous aquatic species and their habitat.

As noted by staff, the $25m project would provide additional transmission service to the counties. AEP Ohio Transco proposes to start construction in late 2018, and complete construction of the line by fall 2020. The preferred route, which is about 12.7 miles long and has total intangible and capital costs of about $14.5m, begins at the proposed Rouse substation in the southern part of Monroe County. The preferred route winds southwest for about 0.3 mile, crosses over State Route 26, and continues southwest for another 1.9 miles, before turning south for 0.4 mile, staff added.

West Coast

IDACORP‘s (NYSE:IDA) Idaho Power on May 1 told the Public Utility Commission of Oregon that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) record of decision (ROD) released last November regarding the Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) project triggered the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Department of Navy decision activities on the project, with the USFS and Navy predicting that they will issue their decisions later this year. As noted in Idaho Power’s “1st Quarter 2018 Transmission Updates” report, Idaho Power and PacifiCorp (referred to as the companies), as well as the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), jointly propose to design, build, operate, and maintain the new approximately 300-mile, 500-kV, single-circuit electric transmission line from the proposed Longhorn substation near Boardman, Ore., to the Hemingway substation near Melba, Idaho.

The company also discussed the Gateway West transmission project, noting that the BLM in November 2013 released its ROD for Segments 1 through 7 and 10 of that project. The BLM postponed a decision on the remaining segments – Segment 8 (Midpoint to Hemingway) and Segment 9 (Cedar Hill substation to Hemingway) – to resolve routing in the affected areas, Idaho Power said. The BLM in January 2017 released its ROD for the remaining segments, and that decision was appealed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) by certain challengers, the company said. The IBLA on April 18, 2017, granted a request by BLM and remanded the ROD for Segments 8 and 9 back to the BLM for further consideration, Idaho Power noted. The BLM on Jan. 5 issued its final environmental assessment, along with a finding of no new significant impact, Idaho Power said. The Department of Interior Assistant Secretary of Lands and Minerals on March 30 signed the decision record for Segments 8 and 9, Idaho Power said. That decision record is the final federal decision milestone for the entire Gateway West project, the company said, adding that the BLM is working on the new ROW grant for Segments 8 and 9, which should be completed and executed in the near future.

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, in a May 2 final order, approved a stipulation that addresses concerns of the commission’s Utility Division Staff regarding Sagamore Wind Energy LLC’s November 2017 application for location approval and ROW width determination for the Sagamore Wind Energy Facility.

As TransmissionHub reported, the stipulation was entered into earlier this year by staff and SPS.

The current plans are that SPS would build, own, and operate the Sagamore Project, and that it would be operational by Dec. 31, 2020, in order to take advantage of the full federal production tax credit (PTC), 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.

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) on May 10 said that it has invested about $1bn over the last five years to upgrade infrastructure and make other improvements to continue providing reliable service for customers, and that it plans to invest about $260m this year in electric transmission and distribution facilities, as well as other resources. For instance, TEP said that its crews and contractors recently completed construction of the $14m, 138-kV Orange Grove substation on the southwest corner of West Orange Grove and North La Canada roads. That project will alleviate potential overload conditions during summer months at three nearby substations, TEP said.

A TEP spokesperson on May 11 told TransmissionHub that primary construction of the substation was completed in April, although there was some testing the week of April 30.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State) on May 17 filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission an application for a CPCN for the Gateway Transmission Project in Weld County. The project consists of a new 230/115/12.47-kV substation, which is planned to include a 230-kV three-breaker ring bus, expandable to a future breaker-and-half configuration, with one 230/115-kV, 150 MVA transformer, and a four-breaker ring bus on the 115-kV side, also expandable to a breaker-and-half configuration. The project’s estimated cost is $16.2m, Tri-State said in its application. Tri-State also noted that the project is scheduled to begin construction in 2Q19, and all components are expected to be completed in 4Q19. The project is expected to be in service by the end of 2019, Tri-State said.

Pattern Energy Group 2 LP (Pattern Development) on May 21 said that it has acquired the Western Spirit Transmission Line and Mesa Canyons Wind Farm in New Mexico from Clean Line Energy Partners.

A Clean Line Energy spokesperson on May 24 told TransmissionHub, in part, “Clean Line was successful in bringing the Western Spirit transmission line and Mesa Canyons wind farm to advanced stages of development and we are so pleased that Pattern Development will now take both projects over the finish line.”

A Pattern Development spokesperson on May 24 told TransmissionHub that both projects are on track to begin construction next year, with target commercial operations by the end of 2020.

According to the Western Spirit project website, the 140-mile electric transmission line will gather wind energy from the central region of New Mexico and deliver about 1,000 MW of power to the existing electric grid in northwestern New Mexico. The line – which is an investment of about $150m – is under development by Pattern Development and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA), which will own the line once it is operational, according to the site. The new 345-kV AC line will begin near Corona, N.M., and will terminate northwest of Albuquerque at the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) Rio Puerco substation, according to the site.

According to the Mesa Canyons project website, the wind farm will be located on ranchland south of the Village of Corona in Lincoln County; will be developed in phases; and could be as large as 1,000 MW. According to the project’s application, for location approval filed with New Mexico regulators last September, the project plans to interconnect with the Western Spirit line. The wind farm’s Phase I of about 330 MW of wind generation is expected to be in operation by the end of 2019, according to the application.

East Coast

The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), in a May 18 final decision, approved, subject to certain conditions, NSTAR Electric Company’s d/b/a Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) June 2016 petition to build an approximately 4.5-mile, combination overhead and underground, 115-kV transmission line in the West Roxbury section of Boston, Mass., and the towns of Dedham and Needham in Massachusetts. As noted in the final decision, the new line would run from Eversource’s existing Baker Street substation in West Roxbury to the company’s existing Needham substation in Needham. Eversource estimated the planning grade cost (-25%/+25%) of the project at about $40.2m.

The New York State Public Service Commission on May 22 said that it will hold two public statement hearings on May 30, in Mineola, N.Y., regarding PSEG Long Island’s (PSEG LI) request to build and operate a new 138-kV, underground transmission line in the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, N.Y. The project involves the construction of a second circuit between the East Garden City substation in Uniondale and the Valley Stream substation in Lynbrook. The project would be built primarily within municipal public roadway ROWs for a total distance of about seven miles, the commission said.

A company spokesperson on May 23 told TransmissionHub that the project’s total estimated cost is $176m, and that if approved, the construction phase is anticipated to begin in fall 2019, with a planned in-service date of December 2020.

Noting that it has kicked off the start of construction of the Pottersville substation in Somerset, Mass., National Grid on May 30 said that it is investing more than $100m in its electric transmission system to increase reliability in southeastern Massachusetts. The company noted that the Pottersville substation is one of two substations to be built, with the other one being the Grand Army substation, which will be a compact-design facility, with the equipment located inside of a building instead of out in the open, allowing the substation to be built on a smaller site.

Other planned projects include upgrading the existing transmission lines between the new Pottersville and Grand Army substations, and between Grand Army and an existing substation at the former Brayton Point power station, the company said. Construction of the two substations and most of the transmission line work will begin this year and continue into 2019, National Grid said in its statement, adding that it expects to have all of the projects completed and operational in mid-2020.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3235 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.