The Southwest Power Pool has approved the Elm Creek to Summit transmission line project. The project will improve the reliability of the high-voltage grid in central Kansas.

"The Elm Creek to Summit project will benefit residents and businesses in central Kansas and the broader region by reducing congestion across the transmission network and improving the reliability and efficiency of the grid," said Kristine Schmidt, president, ITC Great Plains. "This project reinforces ITC's long-term commitment in supporting Kansas to secure its energy future. It also demonstrates that our partnership approach to transmission development provides exceptional value to utilities and their members in the regions they serve."

ITC Great Plains will construct approximately one-half of the 60-mile, 345-kV transmission line connecting the ITC Great Plains Elm Creek Substation, approximately four miles northwest of Aurora, to Westar Energy's Summit Substation, about five miles northeast of Assaria. ITC Great Plains, in partnership with Mid-Kansas Electric Company, LLC (MKEC), will construct the northern portion of the line and co-own and operate this section of the line with MKEC. Westar Energy will build, own and operate the southern half of the line. The project also will involve upgrades at both substations.

Following a routing study last year, ITC and Westar presented several route alternatives to potentially affected landowners during community open house events held in December 2012 in each county along the route. Each company will file route applications for their portions of the line with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) later this spring for review, with rulings on the routes expected later this year. Right-of-way acquisition and engineering design are scheduled for 2014-2015, followed by construction in 2015 and 2016. The line will be energized shortly thereafter.

ITC's investment in a new high-voltage infrastructure in the Southwest Power Pool region is founded upon open access to the grid and collaboration with key energy stakeholders. In 2012 ITC Great Plains, MKEC and Sunflower Electric Power Corporation expanded their partnership agreement for the development of additional transmission projects in Kansas.

"The Elm Creek to Summit project is yet another example of the way our co-development agreement with ITC is expanding and strengthening the high-voltage transmission system across the state," said Stuart Lowry, president and CEO of Sunflower and Mid-Kansas. "Kansans, along with others in the region, will benefit from a robust electric grid that relieves energy congestion. It will also allow our members to further capitalize on generation and transmission resources in the market for those they serve."