Monthly Project Review August 2018

TransmissionHub presents a roundup of most of the transmission projects news that occurred in August, including Dominion Energy (NYSE:D) on Aug. 3 saying that Dominion Energy Virginia and Ørsted are seeking Virginia State Corporation Commission approval to build two 6-MW turbines about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., and grid infrastructure that would be needed to connect the offshore wind facility to the coast.

South/Midwest

Starting in Texas, the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) administrative law judges (ALJs), in an Aug. 2 proposal for decision, recommended that the Public Utility Commission of Texas approve Oncor Electric Delivery Company’s proposed route 1180, with modifications on Links E1, F1, and J1, in relation to a 345-kV, double-circuit transmission line that the company has proposed.

As noted in the proposal for decision, Oncor in March filed an application with the commission to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for the line in Crane, Ector, Loving, Reeves, Ward, and Winkler counties in Texas. The project involves two lines designated as the Odessa EHV-Riverton line and the Moss-Riverton line. The application’s recommended Route 1180 is about 116.3 miles long and costs about $199.7m, excluding station costs, the ALJs said.

In other Oncor news, the company on Aug. 31 filed with the Texas commission an application for a CCN for the proposed Owl Hills-Tunstill POD 138-kV Transmission Line Project.

The new single-circuit line would be built on double-circuit-capable structures between the proposed Owl Hills substation in Culberson County, Texas, and the existing – under construction – Tunstill Point-of-Delivery (POD) station in Reeves County, Texas. The proposed Owl Hills substation would be located west of US 285 near the Culberson County/Reeves County line, the company added. The existing – under construction – Tunstill POD is located about four miles northeast of the community of Orla.

Noting that it retained Halff Associates, Inc., to prepare the environmental assessment and routing study, Oncor said that it selected the estimated $20.6m, approximately 18.7-mile “Route 15” as the route that best addresses certain requirements.

Also on Aug. 31, Oncor filed with the commission an application for a CCN for the Horseshoe Springs Switch-Owl Hills Substation 138-kV Transmission Line Project.

The new single-circuit line would be built on double-circuit-capable structures between the proposed Horseshoe Springs switch station and the proposed Owl Hills substation in Culberson County. The proposed Horseshoe Springs switch is located southwest of the intersection of FM 652 and FM 2185 in Culberson County, while the proposed Owl Hills substation is located west of US 285 near the Culberson County/Reeves County line, Oncor added.

Noting that it retained Halff Associates to prepare the environmental assessment and routing study for the project, Oncor said that it selected the estimated $34m, approximately 29.9-mile Route 508 as the route that best addresses certain requirements.

In other Texas news, the commission approves – as modified by an unopposed agreement – Entergy Texas, Inc.’s (ETI) August 2017 application to amend its CCN for a 230-kV transmission line in Montgomery and Walker counties, according to an Aug. 10 proposed order sent from the Office of Policy & Docket Management to the commissioners.

As noted in the proposed order, the unopposed agreement resolves all of the issues between the parties to the proceeding by agreeing to a specific route.

The proposed line – which would connect a new substation to ETI’s existing Lewis Creek substation to alleviate congestion in the southeast Texas transmission system – is one component of the western region economic project, which was identified by the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) in the 2015 MISO transmission expansion planning report as providing economic benefits to the MISO south region.

In April, the settlement agreement was signed by all the parties to the case, in which the parties agreed to amendment of ETI’s CCN for the proposed line using new “route 21,” which is also referred to as the settlement route, is 38.36 miles long, and has an estimated cost of about $121.5m. The proposed order added that that estimated cost includes the costs of acquiring the ROW, materials and transportation, engineering, construction, administration, and other costs, including an allowance for funds used during construction.

Also in Texas, the commission, according to an Aug. 22 proposed order sent to the commission by the Office of Policy & Docket Management, amends CCNs of Brazos Electric Power Cooperative and AEP Texas, Inc., regarding the proposed Gyp to Benjamin 138-kV Transmission Line in King and Knox counties.

According to the proposed order, Brazos Electric and AEP Texas – referred to as the applicants – last November filed the application to amend their respective CCNs for authority to build, own, and operate the proposed line in King and Knox counties. The proposed line is needed to address reliability issues and future load growth in the West Texas area north and east of the City of Aspermont, the proposed order said.

As noted in the proposed order, the settlement route – that is, the 19.66-mile route C – has an estimated cost of about $20m. The proposed order said that the estimated cost of AEP Texas’ additional station facilities that are required to connect the proposed line 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 total estimated cost for the proposed line using route C, plus the substation estimated costs is about $29.1m, the proposed order said.

In other Texas news, the commission amends Lyntegar Electric Cooperative’s CCN to include the construction and operation of certain transmission lines along a settlement route, according to a draft order, which reflects the commissioners’ decision at an Aug. 9 open meeting.

The draft order was sent on Aug. 29 to the commissioners and all parties of record by Commission Advising. Lyntegar in December 2017 filed an application to amend its CCN to build the new single-circuit, 115-kV transmission lines connecting two new substations in Gaines and Dawson counties. The new 115-kV lines will connect two new substations to an existing substation.

The draft order added that one line – the Welch line – will connect between a tap in a dedicated substation termination bay within the existing SPS Diamondback substation and Lyntegar’s proposed new Welch substation near the town of Welch in Dawson County. The second line – the U.S. Silica line – will consist of a radial transmission line from a tap point on the new Welch line and extend south to Lyntegar’s proposed Thunderhead substation to serve U.S. Silica Company.

The settlement route is 19.54 miles long and was modified to address landowner concerns, the draft order added. The proposed transmission facilities, using the settlement route, have an estimated cost of about $10.9m, according to the draft order.

In Ohio, Dayton Power and Light (DP&L), in an Aug. 1 filing submitted with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), requested that the docket involving its proposed West Milton-Eldean 138-kV Transmission Line Project be closed. The docket, PUCO Case Number 14-0469-EL-BTX, was opened and a pre-application notification letter was filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) in March 2014, the company said.

“Since that time, the project was delayed and OPSB staff recently informed DP&L that, in staff’s view, the project would have to be re-filed with a new case number,” the company said. “DP&L is willing to proceed forward on this basis and, thus, DP&L is not anticipating any further filings of docket 14-0469-EL-BTX and requests that this docket be closed.”

DP&L said that it will file a new application for the same project in the near future.

As TransmissionHub reported, DP&L, a wholly owned subsidiary of AES Corporation, on May 17 filed with the OPSB an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the project, which involves the construction of a single-circuit transmission line within Miami County, Ohio. 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.

Also in Ohio, PUCO staff, in an Aug. 15 report filed with the OPSB, said that it recommends that the OPSB find that the basis of need for the Ginger Switch-Vigo 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild project has been demonstrated and therefore complies with certain requirements, provided that any certificate issued by the OPSB for the proposed facility include certain conditions.

As noted in the report, American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco), an affiliate of AEP Ohio/Ohio Power Company filed an application for the project in March. The proposed project in Ross County, Ohio, involves the installation of a new 138-kV overhead electric transmission line between the existing Ginger Switch and Vigo substations. Staff also noted that the company estimates the applicable intangible and capital costs for the preferred route at about $16.7m.

In Kentucky, AEP’s Kentucky Power on Aug. 10 filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing the company to build about five miles of new double-circuit, 138-kV transmission line in Floyd and Pike counties in Kentucky. As noted in the application, the line would connect the existing Beaver Creek-Cedar Creek 138-kV circuit of the Sprigg-Beaver Creek 138-kV Transmission Line to the proposed substation to be located adjacent to the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park – the Kewanee 138-kV Transmission Line Extension.

The company said that the total functional estimate of its share of the project is $33.6m, which comprises about $19.9m for transmission line work, including ROW acquisition; about $12.5m for improvements to be made by Kentucky Power at the new substation; $0.7m for the retirement of the Fords Branch 46-kV substation; and $0.5m for the Cedar Creek 138/69/46-kV substation upgrade.

Kentucky Power said that it anticipates commencing work, subject to the grant of the requested authority, in 1Q19. The proposed industrial development in the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park requires a project in-service date during 3Q19, the company said.

In other AEP news, the company’s Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) on Aug. 28 said that it plans to invest about $1.5m to rebuild the underground power grid in the Dogwood Park community in Haughton, La. Construction began on Aug. 20 and will be completed by the end of the year, the company said, adding that the work will be completed in 10 phases to minimize disruption to residents, with each phase taking a few weeks to complete.

SWEPCO noted that its contractor is Louisiana Electric.

As noted on the project’s webpage, SWEPCO is replacing in Dogwood Park more than 24,000 feet of underground electric cable that is at the end of its useful life.

On Aug. 28, AEP’s Appalachian Power said that it and its affiliate, AEP West Virginia Transmission Company, would host an open house on Sept. 12 in Mabscott, W.Va., on the proposed Crab Orchard Area Improvements Project, which is an approximate $12m investment that includes building two miles of 138-kV transmission line and a substation in Raleigh County, W.Va.

The upgrades would improve electric service reliability for existing customers and allow for continued growth in the region, the company said. According to a project fact sheet, the project schedule calls for tree clearing/pre-construction to begin in November 2019; substation and transmission line construction to begin in February 2020; and for the project to be in service in December 2020.

East

Dominion Energy on Aug. 3 said that Dominion Energy Virginia and Ørsted are seeking Virginia State Corporation Commission approval to build two 6-MW turbines about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., and grid infrastructure that would be needed to connect the offshore wind facility to the coast.

According to the company’s Aug. 3 petition filed with the commission “for a prudency determination with respect to the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project,” or CVOW Project, the related generation and distribution interconnection facilities – the CVOW interconnect facilities – would include a smaller subset of generation interconnection facilities that are located entirely within Virginia.

The $300m project would provide critical permitting, construction and operational experience, and could pave the way for 2,000 more megawatts of carbon-free generation in the adjacent 112,000-acre wind energy lease area, Dominion said, adding that it currently leases the acreage that would be needed for the facility from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

On Aug. 10, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC (NPT) said that it has filed an appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court challenging a recent decision by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) denying a permit to build the proposed 192-mile electric transmission line.

Counsel to the SEC in the matter of the Northern Pass application on Aug. 13 told TransmissionHub that the SEC “is a quasi-judicial agency and does not respond to appeals from its decisions.”

According to the company’s court filing, the appeal by NPT and Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) d/b/a Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) is from a March 30 order of an SEC subcommittee denying the applicants’ – that is, NPT and PSNH – application for a certificate of site and facility – referred to as the order – and from a July 12 SEC order denying the applicants’ motion for rehearing – referred to as the RH order; collectively, the order and RH order are referred to as the orders.

Discussing the case, the applicants said that they filed in October 2015, a joint application for a certificate of site and facility, which noted that the project was to transmit 1,090 MW of renewable electricity generated by hydroelectric facilities operated by Hydro-Québec. The applicants proposed to build and operate the line between the Canadian border in Pittsburg, N.H., and a substation in Deerfield, N.H., where the electricity would enter the regional electric grid, the applicants said.

As described in the application, the project would provide more than $3bn in economic stimulus in New Hampshire by, for instance, reducing the electricity costs of New Hampshire customers by more than $60m annually.

In New York, Niagara Mohawk Power d/b/a National Grid filed with the New York State Public Service Commission a “Part 102 Report” for construction activities associated with an asset condition refurbishment project, which includes replacing 34 jurisdictional structures on the Alabama-Telegraph #115 115-kV transmission line (the 115 Line). The project also involves installing one new structure on the 115-Line and replacing one jurisdictional structure on the Lockport-Mortimer #114, Telegraph Road Tap #115 115-kV Transmission Line (the 114 Line).

The 115 Line is located between the Alabama Junction Switch Structure and the Telegraph Road substation, a distance of about 4.7 miles, located entirely within the Town of Royalton, Niagara County, N.Y., the company added.

National Grid spokesperson David Bertola on Aug. 27 told TransmissionHub that the project’s estimated cost is $8.3m, and that if the project is approved construction begin in November. With that timetable, the project would be in service in April 2019, he said.

West

On Aug. 1, Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP) filed with the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility regarding the proposed 230-kV Southeast Power Link Project.

The project involves a new approximately seven-mile, overhead, double-circuit 230-kV transmission line and a related 230/69-kV substation, to be located generally east of the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport in the City of Mesa, Town of Queen Creek, and Maricopa County in Arizona, SRP noted.

The line would enhance the capacity and reliability of the transmission system by connecting the existing Santan-Browning 230-kV transmission line in Mesa, Ariz., to the permitted, but unbuilt Abel-Pfister-Ball 230-kV transmission line in Queen Creek, SRP said.

Among other things, SRP discussed estimated costs of the proposed line and route –

  • Northern Alignment: Loop 202 Proposed Alignment (P1-P3) – $9.7m (east side of Loop 202) to $12.3m (west side of Loop 202); RS-31 Substation Siting Area – About 40 acres, $22.9m
  • Southern Alignment: Crismon Road Proposed Alignment (P6-P14) – $10.7m

In its Aug. 3 filing, SRP modified another section in its application, noting this cost –  

  • Central Alignment: SR-24 Proposed Alignment – (P5-P6) – $13.7m

In New Mexico, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) on Aug. 10 filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission an application for approval of a 345-kV transmission line and associated facilities, which are referred to as the BB2 Project. The BB2 Project would parallel a portion of PNM’s existing transmission facilities known as the BB Line, which runs from the BA 345-kV switching station (BA station) north of Albuquerque to the PNM Blackwater 345-kV switching station (Blackwater station) in the Clovis-Portales area of eastern New Mexico, PNM said.

The new line would extend about 45 miles into New Mexico’s eastern plains, through Sandoval and Santa Fe counties, PNM said. The estimated cost of the BB2 Project is $85m, which includes about $3.5m of allowance for funds used during construction, the company said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 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.