Kentucky regulators conditionally grant approval for Kentucky Power’s proposed line, substation

The Kentucky Public Service Commission, in an Oct. 5 order, conditionally granted Kentucky Power a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to build and operate a project that involves a 138-kV transmission line and 138-kV substation.

As noted in the order, Kentucky Power on June 27 filed its application for a CPCN authorizing it to:

  • Build the approximately 2.7-mile transmission line in Boyd County, Ky.
  • Build the new substation near 297 South Commerce Drive in EastPark Industrial Center in Boyd County
  • Upgrade certain facilities and equipment at Kentucky Power’s existing Chadwick 138-kV substation in Boyd County

According to the company, the commission said, the project is necessary to provide new 138-kV transmission electric service to the EastPark Industrial Center, while improving distribution service to the general area. The industrial center is an established industrial park located in Boyd, Carter, and Greenup counties.

The commission also noted that in addition to existing tenants, the industrial center is the future site of the proposed $1.3bn aluminum rolling mill to be built by Braidy Industries, Inc., beginning this year. The estimated peak load for the proposed Braidy Industries facility is 90 MW, the commission said, adding that Kentucky Power contends that its existing transmission and distribution system in the area cannot support that additional load, and that there are no reasonable electrical alternatives to the proposed project. According to the company, the project will strengthen distribution service by improving reliability to distribution customers currently served out of the Princess substation.

Noting that the centerline of the new line route crosses parcels owned by 11 landowners, the commission said that according to the company, no property owners have opposed the project. The commission noted that Kentucky Power’s request to move the centerline and right of way (ROW), or to expand the ROW, is expressly contingent upon the company having notified and obtained a written agreement from owners of property that are subject to the move or expansion.

Kentucky Power anticipates using 14 138-kV, single-circuit, galvanized steel structures; three custom monopoles; six H-frame structures; and five lattice towers in order to complete the project. The commission also said that the proposed new 138-kV substation will serve as a transmission-service delivery point to industrial customers at EastPark Industrial Center and is required to step down the voltage, as well as provide protection and controls to serve industrial customers.

The total estimated cost of the project is about $22.4m, consisting of $8.4m for transmission line work; $13.6m for construction of the Moore Hollow 138-kV substation; and $0.4m for remote work at the existing Chadwick 138-kV substation.

The commission added that Kentucky Power anticipates beginning work, subject to the grant of the CPCN, in 1Q19; the project’s anticipated in-service date is June 2020.

Discussing its findings, the commission said that it finds that the project is necessary to serve the planned Braidy Industries facility and will not result in a duplication of services. Kentucky Power’s existing infrastructure is not capable of serving the planned Braidy Industries facility, and therefore, a new transmission line and substation are necessary to provide service to it, the commission said.

Noting that it understands the need, in limited circumstances, to give a utility flexibility to address last minute or unanticipated issues regarding the construction of a transmission line, the commission said that Kentucky Power may move the approved centerline and ROW, or expand the ROW, 250 feet in either direction – i.e., within a 500-foot corridor – as long as the property owner onto whose property the line is moved was notified of this proceeding and the property owner who is subject to the move agrees in writing to the requested move.

The company must file a survey of the final location of the line after all such moves are completed and before construction begins, the commission said.  

Among other things, the commission said that the conditional CPCN granted in the order is to become unconditional upon Kentucky Power’s filing in the post-case correspondence file a copy of a written statement from Braidy Industries providing reasonable assurance that sufficient financing has been secured to complete construction of its planned facility.

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.