NSTAR Electric has begun work on the Southeast Region Reliability Project, a 345-kV transmission line that will bolster the reliability of the entire electric grid serving southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod.
“This is a major electricity reliability project for the southeastern part of our state that will provide an enhancement of significance not seen in decades,” said Werner Schweiger, president of NSTAR Electric. “When complete, the new transmission line will provide greater access to available power and an additional redundancy option in the event of an issue affecting the existing lines.”
Along with improved reliability for utility customers across southeastern Massachusetts, NSTAR's US$106 million project will provide immediate economic and environmental benefits by reducing the area's reliance on fossil-fueled power plants. A study by ISO New England also recommended the new line as the most prudent, cost-effective way to meet federal standards for backup power delivery to Cape Cod and the Islands.
The construction phase of the transmission line is a welcome boon to the local economy, as it's expected to provide about 100 jobs in the construction and utilities trades, with local businesses also being called upon whenever possible to supply the vast inventory of materials needed for the multifaceted project.
Highlights of the project include building new transmission towers, installing 18 miles (29 km) of new high-voltage electric lines, placing existing lines onto their own structures to further enhance reliability and installing a third 345-kV line spanning the width of the Cape Cod Canal.
Construction is expected to be completed by June 2013, and NSTAR expects no service interruptions as a result of this work. Upon completion, NSTAR will work along the right-of-way to create a diverse, sustainable habitat that can safely coexist with transmission lines.