Monthly Project Review October 2018

TransmissionHub presents a roundup of most of the transmission project news that occurred in October, including Central Maine Power (CMP) saying on Oct. 18 that it has notified regulators of its intent to amend a key element of its proposed New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line to avoid an aerial crossing over the Kennebec River to address the concerns of state environmental regulators, the host communities, and other stakeholders.

East Coast

Starting in New York, the New York State Public Service Commission on Oct. 18 told National Grid that it will not require an investigation of the proposed construction of the Alabama Telegraph 115-kV Asset Condition Refurbishment Project. The work proposed in the project located in the Town of Royalton, Niagara County, N.Y., has been reviewed, the commission said.

As TransmissionHub reported, Niagara Mohawk Power d/b/a National Grid recently filed with the 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).

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

As noted, in Maine, CMP in October said that it will submit a plan to cross under Kennebec River using Horizontal Directional Drilling technology to preserve the scenic and recreational value of the segment of the river known as the Kennebec Gorge.

CMP spokesperson John Carroll on Oct. 22 told TransmissionHub that the original application for the entire New England Clean Energy Connect project was submitted to state regulators last September, and that the company submitted the amendment to its plan proposing the underground river crossing on Oct. 19 to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Maine Land Use Planning Commission (MLUPC).

Carroll said that the entire Direct Current line would run from Lewiston, Maine, to the Quebec border in Beattie Township, which is roughly 145 miles. The project is expected to cost $950m, with construction to start in late 2019 or early 2020, and completion in December 2023, he said.

In Virginia, Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Energy Virginia on Oct. 24 filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission an update on the status of a project that includes the Surry-Skiffes Creek 500-kV Transmission Line. As noted in the filing, by a Nov. 26, 2013 order, as modified by a Feb. 28, 2014 order, and confirmed in an April 10, 2014 order, the commission approved the construction and operation by Dominion Energy Virginia of the project, which also includes the Skiffes Creek-Whealton 230-kV Transmission Line and the Skiffes Creek 500-kV-230-kV-115-kV switching station.

The company said that as of Oct. 1, the construction of the switching station is about 75%; the 230-kV and 115-kV line work is about 72% complete; and the new 500-kV line on land is about 98% complete and on water is about 40% complete.

Also in Virginia, commission staff, in an Oct. 26 report, concluded that Dominion Energy Virginia has reasonably demonstrated the need to build a proposed 230-kV rebuild project. Staff said that it does not oppose the company’s request that the commission issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) necessary for the rebuild project.

As noted in the report, Dominion Energy Virginia is seeking approval to, for instance, rebuild, entirely within existing right of way (ROW) or on company owned property, about 8.5 miles of the existing 230-kV, overhead, single-circuit transmission Line #231 on double-circuit structures. Line #231 runs from the company’s existing Landstown substation in the City of Virginia Beach to the company’s existing Thrasher substation in the City of Chesapeake, staff said.

Staff noted that the rebuild project is estimated to cost about $19m. The company’s stated goal is to begin construction of the rebuild project on April 1, 2020, and to complete construction by Dec. 15, 2020, staff noted, adding that the expected in-service date for the project is Dec. 30, 2020.

Midwest/South

In Ohio, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) on Oct. 3 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) a pre-application notification letter, providing notice of the company’s proposed West Milton-Eldean 138-kV Transmission Line Project.

The project entails building about 17 miles of new 138-kV transmission line from the existing West Milton substation to the existing Eldean substation, located northwest of Troy in Miami County, Ohio. DP&L also said that it estimates that the project would cost about $12m, and be in service by 2022.

Also in Ohio, AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) and OPSB staff on Oct. 11 filed a stipulation with the OPSB, recommending that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the Vigo-Pine Ridge Switch 138-kV Transmission Line Project, subject to certain conditions.

The stipulation noted that adequate data on the proposed project has been provided to the OPSB to determine that the preferred route, if conditioned in the certificate as recommended by the parties, represents the minimum adverse environmental impact, considering the available technology and nature, as well as economics of the various alternatives.

As TransmissionHub reported, the company’s preferred route for the project is about 10.3 miles long and predominantly parallels either the northern or southern edge of the existing Berlin-Ross line ROW.

As noted by staff, the company estimates the applicable intangible and capital costs for the preferred route at about $20.7m.

In other Ohio news, AEP Ohio Transco and OPSB staff on Oct. 15 filed with the OPSB a stipulation in which they recommended that the OPSB issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the Pine Ridge Switch-Heppner 138-kV Transmission Line Project.

The recommended conditions include that the facility be installed on the company’s preferred route, utilizing the equipment, construction practices, and mitigation measures as presented in the March 29 application, and further clarified by recommendations in a staff report.

As TransmissionHub reported, the company estimates the applicable intangible and capital costs for the preferred route at about $8.4m, staff said.

On Oct. 22, AEP Ohio Transco and OPSB staff filed with the OPSB a stipulation that calls for the OPSB to issue a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for construction and operation of the Seaman-Sardinia 138-kV Transmission Line Project, subject to certain conditions.

The filing noted that the signatory parties agree, for instance, that adequate data on the proposed project has been provided to the OPSB and staff to determine that the preferred route contained in the application, as filed by the company in April, if conditioned in the certificate as recommended by the parties, represents the minimum adverse environmental impact, considering the available technology and nature, as well as economics of the various alternatives.

The company estimates the applicable intangible and capital costs for the preferred route are about $11.1m, staff said.

The Kansas Corporation Commission, in an Oct. 4 order, extended until March 1, 2019 the “sunset term” to allow Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC (Grain Belt) to advise the commission of its financial, managerial, and technical ability to complete the Grain Belt Express transmission project.

The commission noted that its staff and Grain Belt on Sept. 6 filed their “joint motion for extension of sunset term,” explaining that litigation delays in Illinois and Missouri makes it unlikely that Kansas construction would begin by Nov. 7, and requesting that the sunset date be extended to Nov. 7, 2023. The commission said that to allow it time to evaluate Grain Belt to submit evidence of its financial, managerial, and technical ability to complete the project, the commission grants an extension of the sunset provision until March 1, 2019.

Clean Line Energy Partners’ Hans Detweiler on Oct. 4 told TransmissionHub, in part: “The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is a proposed electric transmission line project to deliver energy from Kansas to markets in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and further east. The almost $3 billion project would create thousands of construction jobs for several years leading to the project’s anticipated completion in 2023.”

Also in Kansas, the commission, in an Oct. 11 order, issued a certificate of convenience and authority for transmission rights only to Sunflower Electric Power Corporation for the transmission of business as an electric public utility in certain territories, allowing Sunflower to build a new 24-mile electric transmission line.

As noted in the order, Sunflower in August filed an application requesting the certificate to build the new 115-kV line from the Sunflower-owned Santa Fe substation northerly to the new Wheatland Electric Cooperative, Inc.-owned Charleston substation, and then continuing north to the new Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc.-owned Twin Springs substation. The project is estimated to cost $16m, staff said, adding that if the anticipated load growth occurs, Sunflower estimates the project would offset $17.1m of power losses on the 34.5-kV system if the existing 34.5-kV system was required to serve the new growth.

In an Oct. 5 order, the Kentucky Public Service Commission, 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.

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.

On Oct. 8, American Transmission Company (ATC) said that its 10-year plan for electric grid improvements calls for expenditures of $1.5bn in asset maintenance, $0.3bn in regional Multi-Value Projects, $0.5bn in network projects, as well as between $0.5bn and $1.1bn in other capital expenditures.

The plan included an update on major projects, including the 180-mile, 345-kV Badger Coulee transmission line, which ATC expects to energize this fall; the line is being developed jointly with Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL). A portion of that Midcontinent ISO (MISO) Multi-Value Project – from the Cardinal substation to the North Madison substation – was placed in service in fall 2017. According to ATC’s website, the Badger Coulee project is estimated to cost about $580m.

In other ATC news, the company on Oct. 15 submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin its quarterly progress report for the period July 1, through Sept. 30 for the company’s Bunker Hill-Blackbrook (M13) Project, noting that transmission line construction and restoration activities are complete in the rebuild section of the project. Expenditures as of Sept. 30 were about $22.6m, or about 76%, of the authorized total of about $29.7m, ATC said.

On Oct. 17, ATC on Oct. 17 told the Wisconsin commission that gross project expenditures as of Sept. 30 for the Riverside Project were about $25.5m, or about 60.7% of the authorized total of about $42.1m.

As TransmissionHub reported, the commission, in a Jan. 12 final decision, approved ATC’s June 2017 application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) regarding new 345-kV electric transmission facilities. As noted in that 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. The commission noted that it has previously approved the construction by Wisconsin Power and Light (WP&L) of West Riverside in a separate docket.

The project’s anticipated in-service date is April 2019, ATC said.

On Oct. 23, ATC told the Wisconsin commission that the actual project costs as of Sept. 30 on the St. Martins-Edgewood-Mukwonago Rebuild Project were about $11.5m out of the approved approximately $24.7m total project costs.

As TransmissionHub reported, the commission in October 2015 approved the rebuild of the line in southeastern Wisconsin where the lattice structures are almost 90 years old and at the end of their useful life.

In its Oct. 23 quarterly progress report for the period July 1 through Sept. 30 filed with the commission, the company said, for instance, that the project remains on schedule for completion in June 2019, and that all of the required permits have been obtained.

Separately on Oct. 23, ATC told Wisconsin regulators that the actual project costs as of Sept. 30 for the Boscobel to Lone Rock (Line Y124) Rebuild Project were about $7.8m out of the approved total project cost of about $32.3m.

As TransmissionHub reported, the commission last September told ATC that the company’s request for an extension of time to begin construction on the Boscobel to Lone Rock project is granted.

ATC said in its Oct. 23 filing that the project is on schedule for substantial completion of the Y-124 rebuild in December 2019.

In Texas, AEP Texas Inc., on Oct. 12 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas an application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to build about 1.7 miles of new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line in Knox County, Texas. The Tardis to Benjamin Tap 138-kV Transmission Line Project would extend between the proposed AEP Texas Tardis switching station, to be built east of the City of Benjamin on U.S. Highway 82, to an interconnection point located on the existing Benjamin Tap 69-kV transmission line.

Discussing the estimated costs for the proposed route and the Tardis switching station, the company said that the estimated total cost for the transmission facilities is about $3.3m, and about $6.3m for the substation facilities.

According to the estimated schedule, construction of facilities would begin in March 2019 and be completed in September 2019, which is also when the facilities would be energized.

Also in Texas, South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC) on Oct. 18 filed with the Texas commission a stipulation concerning STEC’s proposed Palmas to East Rio Hondo 138-kV Transmission Line Project in Cameron County, Texas, that calls for approval of a new route – Modified Route H – for the project.

As noted in the stipulation, STEC in July filed its application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to authorize construction of the double-circuit-capable 138-kV transmission line that would connect the new proposed Palmas switching station to STEC’s existing East Rio Hondo substation, all within Cameron County.

According to the project’s estimated schedule, construction of the facilities would begin in March 2019 and be completed in June 2019; and the facilities would be energized from June 2019 to September 2019.

In other Texas news, Xcel Energy subsidiary Southwestern Public Service (SPS) on Oct. 23 filed with the Texas commission an application to amend a certificate of convenience and necessity for a proposed 115-kV Transmission Line (Mustang to Seminole) within Yoakum and Gaines counties in Texas.

SPS said that it is proposing to build and operate the primarily single-circuit electric transmission line between SPS’ existing Mustang substation, located in Yoakum County, and SPS’ existing Seminole substation, located in Gaines County.

Among other things, the filing noted that the total cost, including the transmission line and substation costs, is about $15.9m to $18.1m, depending on which route is selected.

On Oct. 15, Mississippi Power Company (MPC) filed with the Mississippi Public Service Commission a petition seeking approval to build, acquire, extend, operate, and maintain three transmission projects:

  • BP Amoco-Moss Point East 115-kV transmission line project; the cost to design and build that project is estimated to be about $7.9m
  • Meridian 115-12.47-kV project; the cost to design and build the project is estimated to be about $5.2m, the company said, adding that the project is expected to be completed in 2019
  • Camp Shelby service improvement project; MPC noted that it estimates that it would cost about $2.2m to design and build the project, with construction expected to be completed by August 2020

In South Dakota, Dakota Range III, LLC on Oct. 26 filed with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission an application for a facility permit for an up to 151.2-MW wind energy conversion facility and associated approximately eight-mile, 345-kV interconnection transmission line to be located in Grant and Roberts counties in South Dakota.

Electricity generated by the project would interconnect to the high-voltage transmission grid via the eight-mile, overhead line that would carry the electricity to a switching station connected to the Big Stone South to Ellendale 345-kV transmission line.

The current estimated capital cost of the project is about $200m based on indicative construction and wind turbine pricing cost estimates for the proposed Vestas V136-4.2 MW turbine layout. The application added that the total installed capital costs for the transmission facility are estimated to be $5.2m.

Entergy (NYSE:ETR) said that company officials, business and community leaders on Oct. 29 gathered at the GT OmniPort Industrial Park in Texas to kick off construction on the approximately $70m Port Arthur Reliability Transmission Project.

The project – to be completed in 2020 – features 13 miles of a new 230-kV transmission line that will connect two new 230-kV substations – the Garden substation and the Legend substation that will be located near Central Gardens and Port Acres, respectively, the company said.

West

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) Communications Manager Allison Torres on Oct. 3 told TransmissionHub that the Sycamore to Peñasquitos line was energized on Aug. 29, and that the project cost about $260m. On Sept. 25, SDG&E said that the new 15-mile, 230-kV electric transmission line built in north-central San Diego, Calif., to enhance overall reliability for 3.6 million residents has been energized. Construction on the line began in early 2017, the company said.

Arizona Corporation Commission staff on Oct. 29 recommended that the commission amend a certificate of environmental compatibility (CEC), which was issued in February 2016 to SunZia Transmission, LLC for a 500-kV transmission project, in order to allow a route realignment requested by the company, subject to certain conditions. Those conditions are that there are no other changes to the CEC as approved, and that the project utilize transmission structures as described in the original CEC application, maintaining the same corridor aside from the requested realignment.

As noted by staff, the commission in February 2016 issued a decision – Decision No. 75464 – granting SunZia a CEC, which approved the construction of two new 500-kV transmission lines and associated facilities, originating at a new substation – SunZia East – in Lincoln County, N.M., and terminating at the Pinal Central substation in Pinal County, Ariz. On Oct. 22, SunZia filed an application requesting an amendment of Decision No. 75464 to authorize a route realignment near the San Manuel Airport.

Separately on Oct. 29, Idaho Power filed with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon its 3Q18 transmission update regarding the Energy Gateway West transmission project and the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project (B2H).

Discussing 3Q18 project developments, the company said that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finished the ROW grant for Segments 8 and 9 of the Gateway West project, and an ROW grant agreement signing ceremony was held in August that included Idaho State BLM, Idaho Power, Rocky Mountain Power/PacifiCorp, and representatives from the Idaho governor’s office.

Of 3Q18 B2H project developments, Idaho Power noted that the BLM’s record of decision (ROD) triggered the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Navy, and Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) decision activities. For the Navy permitting process, the Navy is planning to issue an ROD in late 2018, with an easement to be issued in 2019. The company added that BPA expects to issue an ROD in early 2019 for the removal of existing BPA infrastructure, a 69-kV line from the Navy’s bombing range, to clear the ROW for B2H. The USFS plans to issue its final ROD in 4Q18 and an easement agreement in early 2019.

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.