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Transmission project re-energized

While it appeared briefly Monday that the lights were out on a proposed high-voltage electric transmission line that would serve the state's growing wind industry, officials recharged the plan Tuesday. The Southwest Power Pool Inc.'s board of directors on Tuesday included the $518 million "Spearville line" in a package of transmission expansion projects it was forwarding for further study and probable approval. The 765-kilovolt line would go from Spearville, the site of a wind farm in southwest Kansas, to Wichita and down to the Oklahoma border, where it could hook into lines to other states.

While it appeared briefly Monday that the lights were out on a proposed high-voltage electric transmission line that would serve the state's growing wind industry, officials recharged the plan Tuesday.

The Southwest Power Pool Inc.'s board of directors on Tuesday included the $518 million "Spearville line" in a package of transmission expansion projects it was forwarding for further study and probable approval.

The 765-kilovolt line would go from Spearville, the site of a wind farm in southwest Kansas, to Wichita and down to the Oklahoma border, where it could hook into lines to other states.

On Monday, a strategic planning subcommittee of the Southwest Power Pool recommended four other projects as priorities and excluded the Kansas line. The board added it again during extensive discussion Tuesday, said Southwest Power spokeswoman Emily Pennel.

"Kansas sits directly in the Heart of America; we are perfectly positioned to help close the gap in our regional transmission grid," said Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson. "To do this, we need new power lines to connect east to west, and north to south - the V-Plan project does just that. I am encouraged to see that the Southwest Power Pool has reinstated this... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

While it appeared briefly Monday that the lights were out on a proposed high-voltage electric transmission line that would serve the state's growing wind industry, officials recharged the plan Tuesday.

The Southwest Power Pool Inc.'s board of directors on Tuesday included the $518 million "Spearville line" in a package of transmission expansion projects it was forwarding for further study and probable approval.

The 765-kilovolt line would go from Spearville, the site of a wind farm in southwest Kansas, to Wichita and down to the Oklahoma border, where it could hook into lines to other states.

On Monday, a strategic planning subcommittee of the Southwest Power Pool recommended four other projects as priorities and excluded the Kansas line. The board added it again during extensive discussion Tuesday, said Southwest Power spokeswoman Emily Pennel.

"Kansas sits directly in the Heart of America; we are perfectly positioned to help close the gap in our regional transmission grid," said Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson. "To do this, we need new power lines to connect east to west, and north to south - the V-Plan project does just that. I am encouraged to see that the Southwest Power Pool has reinstated this critical project to their priority list; my administration remains committed to seeing its ultimate approval in January."

The quasi-governmental Southwest Power Pool is an agency mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to oversee electric power supplies in the region, including the transmission grid in all or parts of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

"Basically, the board today said these are six projects we want to do further study on between now and the January board meeting," Pennel said. "In January, they are expected to actually approve projects for construction."

The process originally began with 120 projects put forward by stakeholders, Pennel said, which were winnowed down to the six.

"Between now and then, results of further analysis will determine the next step," Pennel said. Benefits of the projects, however, are expected to exceed costs over the 30- to 40-year life of the projects.

"I think this confirms our directors are for moving forward with this set of projects," Pennel said. "But keep in mind, other projects considered priorities will continue to be reviewed with the integrated transmission plan."

The board will issue notifications to construct once a list of projects gets formal approval. That notification timeline hasn't been determined, Pennel said, though it's expected in 2010. Initial plans called for the line to be in operation by 2013.

While the new line would be built to handle 765 kV of power, it will initially operate at only 345 kV.

The other five forwarded projects included:

* A 765-kV line linking a planned substation in Comanche County to the planned Woodward District EHV substation near Woodward, Okla., operated at 345 kV at an estimated cost of $135 million;

* A 345-kV double circuit line linking the Hitchland substation south of Guymon, Okla., to the Woodward District EHV substation, at an estimated cost of $237 million;

* A 345-kV line from Cooper in the southeast corner of Nebraska through Maryville, Missouri to Sibley (just east of Kansas City, Mo.) at an estimated cost of $278 million;

* A 345-kV line from Valliant in southeast Oklahoma to Texarkana on the Texas-Arkansas state line at an estimated cost of $131 million;

* And a 138-kV reactor at a Tulsa, Okla., power station at an estimated cost of $842,000.

The projects are expected to be paid for with a new "highway/byway" cost allocation methodology endorsed by the Regional State Committee Monday and the Board of Directors Tuesday, Pennel said.

"Highway" refers to 300-plus kV transmission projects, Pennel said, for which costs will be assigned to transmission owners across the region based on their historic use of the region's energy.

The "byway" refers to transmission projects below 300 kV, for which costs will be assigned by formula more directly to the utility in whose service territory the project is located.


Source: http://www.gctelegram.com/N...

OCT 29 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/22875-transmission-project-re-energized
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