Northeast Utilities' Greater Springfield Reliability Project '97% complete'

New 345-kV line energized in April

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Work continues on Northeast Utilities’ (NYSE:NU) Greater Springfield Reliability Project, which is now 97% complete, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on July 24.

According to TransmissionHub data, the 39-mile, 345-kV transmission line begins in North Bloomfield, Conn., and ends in Ludlow, Mass. The project will cost $718m, and construction is set to complete late this year. The project involves 35 miles of 345-kV and four miles of 115-kV lines. The project, which will ensure reliability and reduce energy costs, includes three major substations and two switching stations.

The new 345-kV line was energized in April, the spokesperson said, adding that remaining work to be completed includes the Fairmont switching station in Chicopee, Mass., and restoration in a few remaining areas.

Leon Olivier, Northeast Utilities executive vice president and COO, said in May during the company’s 1Q13 earnings call that over the first three months of the year, the company invested $141m in its transmission facilities.

Much of the increase in transmission infrastructure occurred at the company’s Western Massachusetts Electric Company subsidiary, as it neared completion of the Greater Springfield Reliability Project.

“This project remains on schedule and has been a huge success providing grid operators with a critical new link between western Massachusetts and Connecticut and helping us continue to reduce congestion costs that are passed through to customers,” he added.

Olivier said the project represents more than half of the company’s expenditures on the New England East-West Solution (NEEWS) family of projects, which also include the Interstate Reliability Project, the Rhode Island Reliability Project and the Central Connecticut Reliability Project.

Separately, NSTAR, a Northeast Utilities company, completed its new 345-kV transmission line in southeastern Massachusetts, and the line has been in service since the end of June, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on July 23.

According to TransmissionHub data, the Lower SEMA project runs from the Carver substation in Carver, Mass., southeast along an existing NSTAR right-of-way, across the Cape Cod Canal and ties into an existing line, Line #120 in the vicinity of the Bourne switching station in Bourne, Mass.

Also, Northeast Utilities’ wholly owned subsidiary Northern Pass Transmission recently proposed a new route for the Northern Pass transmission project, partially underground and taking into consideration concerns about potential visual impacts and property rights, in the northernmost section of the project area in New Hampshire’s North Country.

The new proposed route includes 32.25 miles of new right-of-way, and partial underground construction within developed public transportation corridors, and follows a more easterly path than the original proposal submitted in 2010, the company said on June 27.

According to the company, the line will bring 1,200 MW of low-cost, clean energy – mainly hydropower – from Canada to New Hampshire and New England. Direct current (DC) electricity will travel from Canada to a converter terminal in Franklin, N.H., where it will be converted to alternating current (AC) electricity. The AC power will travel to an existing electric substation in Deerfield, N.H., and be distributed through the state and region.

The project is being undertaken under an agreement between Northeast Utilities and Hydro-Québec.

During the earnings call in May, Olivier said that the project's estimated cost remained $1.2bn.

The project’s cost is now $1.4bn, according to the company’s June statement.

Corina Rivera-Linares
About the Author

Corina Rivera-Linares

Corina Rivera-Linares, chief analyst for the Hub's website, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 10 years. Before joining Hubs, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com.

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