SPP: Transmission projects totaling nearly $1.8bn to be built over next five years in 13 states

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said recently that its Board of Directors has endorsed the “2019 SPP Transmission Expansion Plan [(STEP)] Report,” which is a comprehensive listing of all transmission projects in SPP for the 20-year planning horizon.

As noted in the report, projects included in the 2019 STEP are upgrades required to satisfy requests for transmission service; upgrades required to satisfy requests for generator interconnection service; approved projects from the Integrated Transmission Planning (ITP) 20-Year, 10-Year, and Near-Term Assessments; approved balanced portfolio upgrades; approved high-priority upgrades; endorsed sponsored upgrades; and approved interregional projects.

The report noted that the 2019 STEP consists of 568 upgrades with a total cost of $5.2bn.

The “2019 SPP Transmission Expansion Plan Project List,” posted on SPP’s website, includes the:

  • Estimated $18m Line-Arcadia-Redbud 345-kV Ckt 3 (Arcadia-Redbud 345-kV Ckt 3 upgrade) (project type: transmission service, or TS), owned by Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OGE)
  • Estimated $87.3m Multi-Hobbs-Yoakum 345/230-kV Ckt 1 (Hobbs-Yoakum 345-kV Ckt 1 upgrade) (project type: high priority, or HP), owned by Southwestern Public Service (SPS)
  • Estimated $9.9m Multi-Ellerbe Road-Lucas 69-kV (Ellerbe Road-Lucas 69-kV Ckt 1 Rebuild upgrade) (project type: TS), owned by American Electric Power (AEP)

As noted in the report, after the board approves transmission expansion projects, or once service agreements are executed, SPP issues notifications to construct (NTC) letters to appropriate transmission owners. SPP in 2018 issued 23 NTC letters with estimated construction costs of $387m for 65 upgrades to be built over the next five years through 2024. The report added that of that $387m, the upgrade cost breakdown is:

  • $336m for TS
  • $47m for ITP
  • $4m for HP
  • $85,000 for sponsored upgrades (SP)

According to the report, NTCs issued in 2018 include the:

  • Estimated $67.4m Eddy County-Kiowa 345-kV Ckt 1 New Line (TS), owned by SPS
  • Estimated $14.8m S1255-S1260 161-kV Ckt 1 New Line (TS), owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD)
  • Estimated $12.7m Monolith 345-kV substation (TS), owned by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD)

The report noted that 98 upgrades totaling about $779m were completed in 2018, comprised of:

  • 55 ITP at $515m
  • 16 HP at $192m
  • 18 generator interconnection (GI) at $46m
  • 9 TS at $26m

According to the report, upgrades completed in 2018 include the:

  • Estimated $56.4m Matthewson-Tatonga 345-kV Ckt 2 (ITP), owned by OGE
  • Estimated $42m Elm Creek-Summit 345-kV Ckt 1 (ITCGP) (ITP), owned by ITC Great Plains (ITCGP)
  • Estimated $26.1m Clearwater-Viola 138-kV Ckt 1 (ITP), owned by Westar Energy (WR)

As SPP noted in its Jan. 29 statement, according to the report, projects estimated to cost almost $1.8bn will be built over the next five years in 13 states.

Discussing GI, the report noted that from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 19, 2018, SPP received 130 GI requests and 12 affected system GI requests, compared to the 239 GI requests and 24 affected system study requests received through the same period in 2017. As of Dec. 19, 2018, there were 490 active GI queue requests under study for 88,288.2 MW, and four requests had been removed from “study” status either from being withdrawn by the customer or SPP, or by the customer executing a generator interconnection agreement (GIA), the report said.

Of ITP, the report noted that the 2018 ITP Near-Term (ITPNT) Assessment, which analyzed the SPP region’s immediate transmission needs over the near-term planning horizon, was approved by the board in last July. The net total study STEP impact of the 2018 ITPNT project plan is estimated to be $37.2m, the report said, adding that there are 18 proposed upgrades making up 13 projects in the project plan, and of those 13 proposed projects, all have been issued new NTCs. Net impact includes $47.4m for new projects and a reduction of $84.6m for withdrawn NTCs identified in the 2018 ITPNT Assessment. The report added that those 18 upgrades that received an NTC solved 47 thermal and 54 voltage needs on the SPP transmission system. Project plan mileage consists of 5.6 miles of new transmission line and 8.5 miles of rebuild/reconductor line, the report said.

The 2019 and 2020 ITP assessments are in progress, the report said, adding that SPP intends to finalize the 2019 and 2020 reports and portfolios in October 2019 and October 2020, respectively.

Of interregional planning, the report noted, for instance, that SPP and Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., (AECI), along with SPP stakeholders, collaborated throughout 2018 on the performance of a joint coordinated system plan (JCSP) to identify potential joint transmission projects that are mutually beneficial to both entities. The 2018 JCSP study concluded in September 2018 and did not recommend any joint transmission projects.

However, two previously approved SPP-AECI joint projects saw final regional and regulatory approval last year, the report added, noting that the Morgan Transformer Project, for instance, was approved by FERC in October 2018, and is expected to be in service in 1Q20.

According to the Jan. 29 statement, SPP President and CEO Nick Brown said that the organization will focus on such projects this year as implementing reliability coordination (RC) services in the West, scheduled to go live in December, as well as continuing to improve its study process that facilitates connecting new generation to the grid.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 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 corinar@pennwell.com.