TransmissionHub on June 24 held its fifth TransmissionHub Forum, titled, “COVID-19 and the grid,” featuring panelists: Carrie Zalewski, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission; Thad LeVar, chair of the Public Service Commission of Utah; Chris Kelly, COO of US Electric New England at National Grid; and Peter Colussy, senior manager of regional affairs of the California Independent System Operator.
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 on COVID-19. 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 May, TransmissionHub covered about $4.7bn dollars worth of electric transmission projects in various stages of development, including about $64m dollars worth of projects that have been, or will be completed this year; as well as about $154m dollars in 2022. That total also includes about $388m dollars in 2023; about $11m dollars in 2024; about $298m dollars in 2025; and about $1.3bn dollars in 2026.
American Transmission Company (ATC), for instance, in April told Wisconsin regulators that while the rebuild of the Boscobel to Lone Rock (Line Y124) is substantially complete, a 1.7-mile segment of the line remains to be built in coordination with Muscoda Utilities’ expansion of its industrial substation. According to ATC, it is anticipated that that work will be completed in 4Q21.
Projects that are expected to be in service in 2022 include a project by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, which in late January filed with North Dakota regulators an application seeking approval for a substation and an approximately 26.5-mile line that would extend from the existing Neset substation to the proposed Northshore substation. Basin Electric said that the estimated cost of the project is $57m, and that it plans to place the project in service by the end of 2022.
Another project that is expected to be completed next year is Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative’s Delhi-to-Bluestem 138-kV Transmission Line in Texas. The line would be built between the Lower Colorado River Authority’s new Bluestem switching station and the proposed new Delhi substation. The estimated $23m project is expected to be placed in service in August 2022.
Projects that are expected to be in service in 2023 include Dominion’s estimated $97m Lanexa-Northern Neck 230-kV transmission project, which includes rebuilding about 38.3 miles of the existing 41.3-mile, 230-kV Lanexa to Northern Neck Line #224. The company’s desired in-service date is in December 2023.
Another project that is expected to be completed in 2023 is Black Hills Energy’s estimated $42.3m Sweetgrass Project in Wyoming, which includes the new 115-kV Sweetgrass substation and the new 115-kV and 24.9-kV Bison substation. The project’s planned in-service dates begin in 3Q22 and conclude in 2Q23.
Looking beyond 2023, Indiana Michigan Power plans to invest about $11m on the Anderson Area Improvements Project, which involves rebuilding about four miles of 138-kV transmission line and upgrading a substation in Indiana. According to the project schedule, the project is scheduled to be complete in late 2024.
The Tennessee Valley Authority proposes to invest $28m to build the new Locust Creek switching station in Tennessee, as well as about 14 miles of 161-kV transmission line. That project is expected to be in service in fall 2025.
In February, an Idaho Power spokesperson told TransmissionHub that the company is moving ahead with the 500-kilovolt Boardman to Hemingway transmission project, with project construction estimated to cost up to $1.2bn, and scheduled to begin in 2023; the line is scheduled to be in service by 2026 or later.
In mid-March 2020, TransmissionHub reached out to various companies regarding the pandemic, with many officials saying that their companies were adding safety measures as they continued construction on electric transmission projects. For instance, ATC told TransmissionHub that transmission construction and maintenance work was proceeding as planned, with the company prioritizing projects.
Later that month, TransmissionHub published a four–part series looking at how regulators around the country were adapting amid the pandemic. Mississippi Public Service Commission Chair — and NARUC President — Brandon Presley, for example, told TransmissionHub at that time that there has “been a dramatic change” in the amount of filings made, with filings having “slowed to a trickle.”
During the Edison Electric Institute’s 2020 Virtual Leadership Summit last September, utility executives said that communicating transparently with employees and finding ways to support customers are among the most important things that the energy industry has done during the pandemic.