TransmissionHub on Dec. 6 held its third TransmissionHub Forum, titled, “Cybersecurity and the grid,” sponsored by Black & Veatch and featuring panelists: Betty Ann Kane, chairman of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, and Keri Glitch, vice president and chief information security officer of the Midcontinent ISO (MISO).
The first part of this two-part article presents an overview of some of the electric transmission projects that TransmissionHub is tracking to be in service in the next few years, as well as coverage of recent developments involving cybersecurity. The second part, to be published soon, will feature the panelists’ webcast presentations.
A replay of the webcast can be found here.
From January to October, TransmissionHub has covered about $24.4bn dollars worth of electric transmission projects in various stages of development, including about $2.6bn dollars worth of projects that have been, or will be completed in 2018; as well as about $1.3bn dollars in 2019. That total also includes about $4.6bn in 2020; about $1.6bn in 2021; about $5bn in 2022; and about $5.2bn in 2023.
Several projects have been completed this year, including Entergy Louisiana’s $187m Lake Charles Transmission Project, and San Diego Gas and Electric’s 15-mile, $260m Sycamore to Peñasquitos project in California.
According to Entergy, the Lake Charles project included building two new substations and expanding two others, as well as adding about 25 miles of high-voltage transmission lines – 500-kV and 230-kV lines – to move power more efficiently into the fast-growing region.
According to SDG&E, the Sycamore to Peñasquitos project will improve California’s power grid and ensure that the region remains resilient and prepared for the increasing amount of renewable energy that the company delivers.
Projects that are expected to be in service in 2019 include Oncor Electric Delivery Company’s Horseshoe Springs to Owl Hills 138-kV Transmission Line Project, which has an anticipated in-service date of September of next year.
According to Oncor, its system in West Texas continues to experience load growth due to oil and natural gas production, mid-stream processing, and associated economic expansion in the area referred to as the Delaware Basin. In order to meet that need, the new line in Culberson County is being proposed to connect Oncor’s Horseshoe Springs switch station to the company’s Owl Hills substation.
Another project that is expected to be completed next year is Kentucky Power’s Enterprise Park Economic & Area Improvements Transmission Project, which has an estimated cost of $33.6m.
According to the company, the project would provide electric transmission service to the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park and associated businesses, while supplementing distribution service capacity and reliability in the general area.
Projects that are expected to be in service in 2020 include the estimated $176m Western Nassau Transmission Project proposed by PSEG Long Island in New York. That project, which has a planned in-service date of December 2020, involves the construction of a second circuit between the East Garden City substation in Uniondale and the Valley Stream substation in Lynbrook. According to the company, the project would improve the reliability of the electric grid, and the underground transmission line would provide storm and weather hardening as well as resiliency.
Another project that is expected to be completed in 2020 is the 345-kV Burrillville Interconnection Project in Rhode Island. National Grid and Clear River Energy LLC are seeking approval to connect the proposed Clear River Energy Center to the electric transmission system by building the interconnection project.
Also expected to be completed in 2020 is the $26m Glencoe-Speidel 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project in Ohio. AEP Ohio Transmission Company and Ohio Power Siting Board staff recently filed a stipulation that is intended to resolve all matters pertinent to the project, which, according to the company, would improve local service for customers, decrease power interruptions, improve resiliency of the system, and speed recovery of local service when outages do occur.
Looking beyond 2020, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric LLC, for instance, expects to energize its proposed 345-kV Bailey-Jones Creek Project in 2022.
According to CenterPoint, it has identified significant forecast load growth from industrial customers in the Freeport, Texas area, and the proposed project, as part of a comprehensive set of improvements that are needed to maintain reliability, would resolve the identified loading and voltage concerns.
In New England, Central Maine Power, for instance, is anticipating construction to begin in late 2019 or early 2020 on its $950m New England Clean Energy Connect project. The project – which is anticipated to be completed in 2023 – was selected in response to a Massachusetts initiative to increase the supply of clean energy as required under the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
Among notable happenings in the electric transmission space this year, American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) canceled its proposed $4.5bn, 765-kV Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project as a result of Texas regulators’ decision to deny approval of the project. As noted in the regulators’ order, they found that AEP’s Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) “failed to show that the project will lead to the probable lowering of cost to SWEPCO’s consumers.”
AEP CEO Nicholas Akins, in a July statement, noted that the project “was a great opportunity to provide more clean energy, lower electricity costs and a more diverse energy resource mix for” customers.
In New Jersey, state regulators denied Jersey Central Power & Light’s petition regarding its $111m, 230-kV Monmouth County Reliability Project, saying in their order, in part, that based on the evidence provided in the record, they cannot make a clear determination on the project’s reasonable necessity. The company had proposed the project to enhance service and modernize the electric system.
Regarding cybersecurity news, FERC, for instance, said in October that it has approved new mandatory reliability standards to bolster supply chain risk management protections for the country’s bulk electric system. According to FERC, the new standards will augment current Critical Infrastructure Protection standards to mitigate cybersecurity risks associated with the supply chain for grid-related cyber systems.
Also in October, Virginia regulators approved an application filed by Appalachian Power Company, AEP Transmission Holding Company, LLC, and Grid Assurance LLC for authority to enter into an agreement whereby Grid Assurance will provide emergency equipment supply services to APCo in order to enhance grid resilience. As noted in the application, Grid Assurance was formed to address grid resiliency needs facing transmission-owning electric utilities, particularly the ability of electric utilities to ensure prompt restoration of the bulk power system in the wake of a catastrophic event such as a natural disaster or cyber-attack.
The U.S. Department of Energy in October announced awards of up to $28m to support the research, development and demonstration of tools and technologies to improve the cybersecurity and resilience of the country’s critical energy infrastructure. According to DOE, one of those projects involves the United Technologies Research Center, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Southern California Edison, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville. According to DOE, the project team will develop an open-source tool that uses publicly available metadata, such as real time prices, to detect and alert operators that information has been manipulated with the intent to disrupt energy delivery system operations.
Finally, the ISO/RTO Council, in light of a malware framework that was disclosed in a 2017 report by a cybersecurity company, told TransmissionHub last year that it agrees with NERC in that the continuously evolving cyber threats to the industry require a concerted response to ensure the continued security and reliability of the power grid, and that security programs must continue to reflect more than that which is required by current standards.