ISO New England questions extensive use of underground electric cable for Connecticut’s transmission solutions

HOLYOKE, Mass., June 18, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Appearing today before the Connecticut Siting Council, ISO New England said the current design of a proposed transmission upgrade in Southwest Connecticut would result in a transmission system that continues to have significant reliability issues. ISO New England expressed the need to evaluate alternative transmission line designs in order to ensure a viable solution for the state’s and the region’s energy needs.

In testimony before the Siting Council, ISO New England Chief Operating Officer Stephen G. Whitley said that the extensive use of underground cable currently being considered will not realize the intended reliability benefits, will add costs to Connecticut’s customers, and will further delay developing a suitable solution for the state and the region.

“ISO New England continues to support a comprehensive solution to Connecticut’s and New England’s energy problems,” said Whitley. “We are mindful of the desire of residents in Southwest Connecticut – and the clear direction from the legislature – to put high voltage transmission lines underground where possible. But, this proposal as designed would compromise the very solution we all seek. ISO New England is obligated to ensure that upgrades to the regional power system do not create an adverse impact on the existing system. At a cost of approximately $800 million, ISO New England, the people of Connecticut and all regional stakeholders must have confidence that these projects will achieve their intended purpose.”

Whitley asked the Siting Council to allow further study and evaluation of the proposed design and said he is confident that ISO New England’s concerns do not preclude a solution that could include some portion of underground transmission lines.

Whitley said these projects are needed to ensure a reliable supply of power not only for Connecticut but also for all of New England.

“New England’s system is interconnected; what happens in one area of New England can impact other areas,” Whitley said. “If this new transmission loop is designed with built-in flaws, it can cause problems for the regional system. These transmission projects represent the largest investment in energy infrastructure in all of New England. They need to serve the region and its economy reliably for years to come. It is important to get the job done right.”

Northeast Utilities and United Illuminating have proposed a two-phase upgrade to the Connecticut transmission system installing extra-high-voltage 345 kilovolt lines in a loop around Southwest Connecticut. Phase I, which was approved by the Siting Council last year, includes 12 miles of underground electric cable. Phase II, which is the subject of ongoing hearings, adds an additional 24 miles of underground cable to the transmission loop.

“A transmission upgrade that is 40 percent underground will take longer to construct, will be much more expensive, and, in the end, will not deliver the reliable electricity service that Connecticut residents and businesses expect and deserve,” said Whitley.

ISO New England is looking forward to working with the Siting Council, other state officials, and industry stakeholders in developing a workable solution for Connecticut. The full text of ISO New England’s pre-filed testimony can be found on ISO New England’s Web site at www.iso-ne.com.

For almost seven years, ISO New England Inc. has been the not-for-profit corporation responsible for the day-to-day reliable operation of New England’s bulk generation and transmission systems with an installed capacity of approximately 32,000 megawatts. In addition to operating the bulk power grid, ISO New England is the administrator of the region’s wholesale electricity marketplace and the Open Access Transmission Tariff on behalf of the New England Power Pool.

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  • The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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