Public Service Company of Colorado on Jan. 14 filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission its 2019 Semi-Annual Progress Report #3 on the Pawnee-Daniels Park 345-kV Transmission Project, noting that as of Dec. 31, 2018, the project estimate at completion is about $153.2m.
The overall project estimate is within about 14% of the project estimate included in the first application submitted in 2014 at $177.8m, the company said, noting that the December 2018 project estimate is a result of scope changes and project cost savings.
The company noted that the project scope includes:
- Construction of about 115 miles of double-circuit, 345-kV transmission lines from the Pawnee substation, northeast of the Denver-metro area, to the Daniels Park substation, south of the Denver-metro area
- A new Smoky Hill substation to Daniels Park substation 345-kV transmission line
- Building a new Harvest Mile 345-kV substation, southeast of Denver
- Expansion at five other substations along the route
The company said that the project is required to facilitate future generation development, including the Public Service Rush Creek generation project. The transmission project will also help support the acquisition of other eligible energy generation development in the region, as well as improve system reliability.
There are no significant changes to the overall project schedule, the company said, adding that siting and land rights activities – permitting, land, and easement acquisitions – have been, or will be, completed as scheduled and will not impact any project segment construction start dates. The overall project completion/in-service date remains Oct. 30, the company said.
Discussing efforts to reduce the project cost, the company said that it:
- Has completed siting and land rights activities early and as scheduled to not impact any project segment construction dates
- Is ensuring there are ongoing meetings that include project management, project controls, engineering, construction and transmission operations to identify and approve – early on – required system outages and ensure all engineering is complete, construction drawings issued, and construction resources secured to avoid delays and subsequent project cost impacts
- Is utilizing best utility and value added engineering practices, both of the industry and within Public Service, to verify and refine the scope of the project and all segments
- Is holding, at a minimum, three levels of constructability meetings to identify any potential project design and field constructability concerns and mitigation
- Is planning the construction sequencing for both substations and transmission line segments to take advantage of synergies of system outages on like elements and combining construction resources for project segments in the same substation areas and transmission line corridors
- Is developing and utilizing consulting, contractor, and material/equipment alliances for cost-effective engineering support, construction support, and material/equipment procurement for early, on-time delivery
The company said that major scope changes and budget cost variances include:
- Permitting, right of way (ROW) acquisition, and engineering optimization activities resulted in the reduction of final line route mileage for Line 7109 – Harvest Mile-Daniels Park 345 – of 10 miles – $9m
- Better/more competitive substation and transmission material and construction contractor labor pricing on major project components – $6.1m
- As the project and segments now progress into major construction phases and construction risks are mitigated, a portion of risk reserve – contingency – is no longer necessary and released – $7.1m
- Refined transmission planning studies determined that a reactor installation was not required at the Pawnee 345-kV substation – $2.5m
The company said that Harvest Mile 345-kV substation construction is completed, commissioned, and was declared in service on Dec. 20, 2018. Smoky Hill 230-kV substation – through phase 7 of 9 – and Smoky Hill 345-kV substation construction is completed, commissioned, and was also declared in service on Dec. 20, 2018.
Public Service added that Missile Site 345-kV substation construction is completed, commissioned, and was declared in service on Oct. 26, 2018. The company added that the project was on time to support its energy supply backfeed date for the Rush Creek generation facility testing, commissioning, and ultimate commercial operation date of the Rush Creek wind project.
Construction is completed on eight of 12 transmission line segments, the company said, noting that 7109 (Missile Site-Byers Transition Site 345) was completed on June 1, 2018; 5467 (Pawnee-Smoky Hill 230) was completed on Jan. 16, 2018; 5165 (Brick Center-Smoky Hill 230) and 7111 Phase 1 (Pawnee-Missile Site 345) was completed on May 15, 2018; 5163 (Sulphur-Smoky Hill 230) was completed on May 6, 2018; 7081 (Missile Site-Smoky Hill 345) was completed on Oct. 19, 2018; 5179 (Smoky Hill-Harvest Mile 230) and 7087 (Smoky Hill-Harvest Mile 345) was completed on Dec. 10, 2018; and 5113 (Missile Site-Daniels Park 230) was completed on Dec. 12, 2018.
The last major transmission line construction segments include 7109/7153 (Harvest Mile-Daniels Park 345), the company said, adding that major material deliveries are completed, and construction is scheduled to begin this month.
Pawnee 345-kV substation and Daniels Park 345-kV substation construction began in September 2018, the company said.