American Transmission puts Quad County project in service

Shortly after it filed an application with Wisconsin regulators for a new $30 million, 115-kV project, American Transmission Co. (ATC) placed its Quad County Electric Reliability Project into service on Jan. 27, an ATC spokesperson told TransmissionHub Feb. 25.

The Quad County project in Wisconsin was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, with a final cost of $44 million, which was 5 percent under budget, the ATC spokesperson said.

The 58-mile, 138-kV project involved rebuilding existing transmission lines, adding new conductor and improving reliability in portions of four counties: Waukesha, Jefferson, Dodge and Washington, according to an ATC fact sheet for the project. Many of the structures along the route were either lattice or H-frame structures that were replaced with single, galvanized steel poles, ATC said.

The Quad County project stretches from Waukesha to Watertown and north from Watertown to near Sliger, ATC said.

The company filed its application for the Kelly-Bunker Hill-Blackbrook line rebuild project with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin on Jan. 8. The project is estimated to cost $29.7 million, with construction planned to begin in 2017 to meet an in-service date of Nov. 1, 2019, according to the application.

The project, also identified as the Line M13 Reinforcement Project, is designed to rebuild and replace 115-kV facilities in Marathon, Lincoln and Langlade counties in central Wisconsin due to aging infrastructure and to address line loading concerns, ATC said in the application. The work would begin at the Kelly substation in the village of Weston, run north to the Bunker Hill substation in Pine River and continue east to the Blackbrook substation in Ackley.

ATC sought a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build the project, which it said would largely be built within existing ROW and would not have any undue environmental impacts.

The M13 line is along the southern end of the Rhinelander 115-kV Loop, with a growing potential for overloading that is driving the need to replace facilities, ATC told the PSC. Under power flow analyses, the facility has been identified with potential overloads during maintenance or single-contingency conditions, ATC said.

ATC developed a methodology of line ratings that caused the M13 line to be derated, and until the replacement facilities are in place it will be operating under the previous “transitional” rating methodology, the ATC spokesperson told TransmissionHub Feb. 25.

The “transitional” rating is used to mitigate reliability concerns and minimize congestion issues, ATC said in the application.

The work includes rebuilding Line M13 as a double-circuit line for about 8.2 miles between the Bunker Hill and Blackbrook substations, uprating the line for about 19 miles between the Kelly and Bunker Hill substations and adding a new 115-kV substation in Ackley on four acres of land, with ATC planning to purchase six acres of land from two landowners for the new substation.

In addition, ATC plans to remove the Bunker Hill and Blackbrook substations and perform relay upgrade work at the Pine, Kelly, Gardner Park and Aurora substations to support the new circuits.

Various system alternatives were evaluated to address the reliability and potential overload needs, with the application as filed representing the preferred alternative, ATC said.

Two no-build options would not address the reliability concerns and would leave the system vulnerable to a voltage collapse, and energy efficiency gains would not change the need for the project, ATC said.

To address the overload concerns, between 50 MW and 100 MW would have to be removed from the system, and ATC said it is not aware of any conservation or load response programs for the area that could achieve such a demand reduction, and reducing load would not eliminate the need to replace some of the aging facilities.

Non-transmission alternatives also would not eliminate all needs for the project, as generation re-dispatch is not a feasible option because it would not address the thermal constraints identified on Line M13, ATC said.

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