New transmission projects move forward in New England, Midwest, Texas

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Eversource Energy was given support in July by ISO New England for the company’s proposed Woburn to Wakefield Line Project, which is part of the Greater Boston North Project Group and involves an eight-mile, 345-kV underground transmission line between Eversource's Woburn and National Grid USA's Wakefield Junction substations.

The project is expected to be completed by late 2018 at a cost of $52 million.

Also in July, Clean Line Energy Partners’ planned Grain Belt Express Clean Line application was rejected by the Missouri Public Service Commission due to failure to file a “60-day notice” required by the PSC.

The $2.2 billion project involves a new 780-mile, 600-kV HVDC transmission line between Spearville, Kan., and St. Francois, Mo., to support renewable energy development. The project has a projected completion date of late 2021.

The PSC, in an Aug. 3 order, granted Grain Belt Express Clean Line’s request for a partial waiver in relation to the company’s proposal to build, own, operate, control, manage and maintain a high voltage, direct current transmission line and an associated converter station providing an interconnection on the Maywood–Montgomery 345-kV transmission line.

Northern Pass Transmission received an interconnection approval from ISO New England for the company’s planned Northern Pass project. The project, which involves 239 miles of 300-kV DC and 40 miles of 345-kV AC transmission lines, would bring renewable energy from Quebec into New Hampshire to satisfy the need for additional renewable energy in New England. The project has an estimated cost of $1.6 billion, and is expected to be energized by summer 2019.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved American Electric Power’s (AEP) Bunker Hill to Black Brook Rebuild project. The project involves a new eight-mile, 115-kV rebuild of an existing line at a cost of $29.7 million. AEP expects to complete the line by late 2019.

National Grid USA, unit of National Grid, received approval from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) for the company’s planned Merrimack Valley Reliability Project. The project involves a 17.9-mile, 345-kV transmission line continuation of the proposed 3124 Line in New Hampshire and terminates at the Scobie Pond substation. The project is needed to address transmission system reliability issues in the Greater Boston and southern New Hampshire areas. The project has an estimated cost of $123 million, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Administrative law judges, in a proposal for decision filed with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas, concluded that Route 10M is the preferred route for Lower Colorado River Authority’s Zorn to Marion project as it required the least amount of new right of way. If selected, the route would run about 9.5 miles, and cost about $46 million. The 345-kV project is expected to be completed by summer 2019.

AEP Texas Central Co., unit of AEP, received approval from Texas regulators for its proposed Tuleta to Euler to Coleta Creek project. The project is a planned 45-mile to 55-mile, 138-kV transmission line that aims to accommodate growing demand from oil and natural gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale region. The project has an estimated cost of $53 million, and is expected to be completed by summer 2018.

Houston County Electric Cooperative Inc. also received approval from Texas regulators for its Mustang Prairie to Weldon project. The new transmission line would be rated at 138-kV, run about 18 miles and have a cost estimate of $20 million. The project is scheduled to be energized by late 2018.

The Belvoir–Gum Springs Rebuild project, sponsored by Dominion Virginia Power, received an approval recommendation from a hearing examiner with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The project involves replacing 2.6 miles of existing 230-kV transmission line in order to increase reliability in the Alexandria-Arlington load area. The project is expected to come online by the end of 2016 at a cost of $10.4 million. Dominion Virginia Power is a unit of Dominion Resources.

Two projects were announced in July. Tennessee Valley Authority announced a new Oxford to Coffeeville to ensure reliability in the region. The 26-mile, 161-kV transmission line is expected to be completed by late 2018.

Montana Dakota Utilities announced a planned Ellendale to Leola project, which is scheduled for completion in late 2016. The 9-mile, 115-kV transmission line would run between the existing Ellendale substation and proposed Leola substation. The addition of the line would provide a new power source into the Leola area and provide additional support on the integrated system.

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