SPP board requires members to build 13 new projects in six states over next five years

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) on July 31 said that its board of directors has approved the 2018 Integrated Transmission Plan Near-Term (ITPNT) Assessment, requiring SPP members to build 13 new transmission projects in six states over the next five years, at an estimated total investment of $47m.

Those upgrades are expected to resolve 101 anticipated reliability needs on the electric grid, resulting primarily from increased electric consumption expected in certain areas of the region and from announced generation retirements in eastern Kansas and western Missouri, SPP said. 
Completion of those upgrades will contribute to voltage stability, reduce grid congestion, and ensure that the SPP region remains compliant with mandatory federal standards, SPP said.

According to the 2018 ITPNT Assessment report, those 13 projects include:

  • The Tap Moore-Potter 230-kV line and Exell Tap-Fain 115-kV line and tie into a new substation at McDowell; installing a new 230/115-kV transformer at McDowell. That project is in the Southwestern Public Service (SPS) project area; has an estimated cost of about $13.2m; and a need date of June 1, 2019
  • Building a new 5.6-mile, 161-kV line from Blue Valley to Crosstown in the Kansas City Power & Light (KCPL) project area. That project has an estimated cost of about $9m and a need date of June 1, 2020
  • The New Lakeview 69-kV substation; new 14.4 MVAR switched shunt capacitor at Lakeview 69-kV in the East River Electric Power Cooperative (EREC) project area. That project has an estimated cost of about $5.6m and a need date of June 1, 2019
  • Replacing the 230/115-kV transformer at Lawrence Hill in the Westar (WERE) project area. That project has an estimated cost of about $4.9m and a need date of June 1, 2019
  • The new 50 MVAR switched shunt reactor at Brookline 345-kV; Brookline 345-kV substation expansion in the City Utilities of Springfield (SPRM) project area. That project has an estimated cost of about $4.2m and a need date of June 1, 2019
  • Replacing the 230/115-kV transformer at Sundown in the SPS project area. That project has an estimated cost of about $3.4m and a need date of June 1, 2019

SPP noted in its statement that it also found that six previously approved projects expected to cost $85m are no longer needed. The net effect of that board action is expected to have no impact to the monthly bills of the average residential customer in SPP’s footprint, SPP said.

According to the report, those six projects are the:

  • $34.9m Jeffrey-Hoyt 345-kV Rebuild; the owner is WERE
  • $24.9m Welsh Reserve-Wilkes 138-kV Rebuild; the owner is American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP)
  • $12.7m Dean Interchange 230/115-kV Station and Transformer; the owner is SPS
  • $6.7m Chapel Hill REC-Welsh Reserve 138-kV Rebuild; the owner is AEP
  • $4.5m Ringwood 69-kV Capacitor Bank; the owner is Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC)
  • $950,000 Blanchard 69-kV Capacitor Bank; the owner is WFEC

“As a result of previous planning efforts performed over the past 14 years, SPP has already directed nearly $10 billion in new transmission investment,” SPP Vice President of Engineering Lanny Nickell said in the statement. “Those previous decisions allowed us to focus this assessment on smaller projects that optimize the big investments our members have made. Maintaining a reliable electric transmission network is a continuous process, and we continue to evaluate the best, most cost-effective ways to ensure we can keep the lights on today and in the future.”

SPP Transmission Planning Director Antoine Lucas said in the statement: “With input from its members and other stakeholders, SPP provides an independent and holistic view of the regional grid and its needs. The 2018 ITPNT is the latest example of our collaborative process to ensure adequate transmission infrastructure throughout the SPP region.”

As noted in the report, the ITPNT assesses:

  • Regional upgrades required to maintain reliability in the near-term horizon in accordance with SPP criteria and the NERC Reliability Standard TPL-001-4 planning events that do not allow for non-consequential load loss (NCLL) or interruption of firm transmission service (IFTS)
  • Zonal upgrades required to maintain reliability in accordance with company specific local planning criteria in the near-term horizon
  • Coordinated projects with neighboring transmission providers

The 2018 ITPNT included four separate scenario models – Scenarios 0 (S0), Scenario 5 (S5), SPP balancing authority (BA), and base reliability (BR) – built across multiple years and seasons to evaluate power flows across the grid and account for various system assumptions. The report also said that the S0, S5, and BR models allow only resources with firm transmission service to be dispatched with the preferred order submitted by SPP members, while the BA model allows for resources without firm transmission service to be dispatched in addition to firm resources subject to system constraints similar to the SPP Integrated Marketplace.

Among other things, SPP said that SPP President and CEO Nick Brown reported on the June 5 letter he sent to the interim CEO of the Western Electric Coordinating Council, Steve Goodwill, indicating receipt of 28 letters of intent from western entities interested in receiving reliability coordination services from SPP on a contract basis.

SPP said that Brown, in a June 5 press release, said: “SPP has served as a Reliability Coordinator in the east for more than two decades and has coordinated electric reliability one way or another since we formed in 1941. We’ve shown consistently throughout our history an ability to coordinate people, systems and complex processes to keep the lights on. We’re thrilled at the possibility of now doing so for new stakeholders in the west.”

The board also received its final report from the SPP Regional Entity (RE) Trustees, SPP said, noting that last July, SPP announced that it would dissolve the SPP RE to focus on its RTO functions. Work has proceeded since then to wind down the SPP RE’s operations and transfer duties and information to the Midwest Reliability Organization, SERC Reliability Corporation, and NERC, SPP said.

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.