ITC Great Plains LLC has received siting approval from the Kansas Corporate Commission to build the first phase of its 345-kV Kansas Electric Transmission Authority project. This first phase of the project involves the construction of an 89-mile transmission line between Spearville and Hays, Kansas.
The KCC siting approval is a critical step in allowing ITC Great Plains to pursue the KETA project, a 215-mile long transmission line that will run between Spearville and Axtell, Neb. The siting decision follows the KCC's March 12, 2008 decision granting ITC Great Plains application to amend its Certificate of Public Convenience and Authority to "construct, own and operate" the KETA project transmission facilities in Ford, Hodgeman, Pawnee, Rush, Ellis, Rooks and Phillips Counties.
"We're pleased with the Commission's decision and are ready to continue moving forward with this critical regional transmission project," said Carl Huslig, president, ITC Great Plains. "The KETA project will help provide affordable power for Kansans and Southwest Power Pool (SPP), while bolstering the reliability of our regional transmission grid and will allow for the further development of wind power in the region."
The KCC decision supports an ongoing effort by ITC Great Plains, a subsidiary of Novi, Mich. based ITC Holdings Corp., to address the state's energy challenges -- including a lack of transmission capacity between western and eastern Kansas and the absence of an energy grid to support wind development -- by investing in new, high voltage electric infrastructure. The decision provides additional backing for ITC Great Plains to continue developing and implementing an ambitious regional transmission plan within the SPP region founded upon open access to the grid and collaboration with key energy stakeholders.
"We commend the Commission for recognizing that this project will help the state address infrastructure challenges, achieve energy certainty and position Kansas as a primary supplier of clean, renewable power throughout the Midwest," Huslig said.
The siting permit was conditioned upon ITC Great Plains obtaining the authorization to construct the project from SPP. ITC Great Plains is in the process of securing this authorization, as well as other remaining regulatory approvals, to build the first phase of the project while also pursuing the development of the second phase of the project, which will run from Hays, Kan. to the Nebraska border. The final segment of the project from the Nebraska border to Axtell, Neb. will be completed by Nebraska Public Power District.
The cost for ITC Great Plains' portion of the KETA project is currently estimated to be approximately $200 million. The first phase of the project represents approximately $90 million of this total.