The Elm Creek to Summit 345,000-volt (345kV) transmission line is improving the reliability of the grid in central Kansas, allowing the grid to continue to meet required standards of reliability. It benefits residents and businesses in central Kansas and beyond by easing congestion across the transmission network and improving the efficiency of the grid. It also provides tax revenue, construction jobs and local expenditures, and expands capabilities for future investment in area industry. The Elm Creek to Summit Project is a 60-mile, 345,000-volt (345 kV) line that links the existing 345 kV Summit Substation southeast of Salina, Kansas, to a new 345 kV substation southeast of Concordia, Kansas, located near the existing 230 kV Elm Creek Substation. ITC Great Plains, LLC (ITC), under a co-development agreement with MidKansas Electric Company, LLC (MKEC), constructed and co-owns with MKEC and operates the northern section of the line, and Westar Energy, Inc. (Westar) constructed, owns, and operates the southern section. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) required this project to be in service no later than 2018. The line was placed in service in December 2016.
The Routing Process:
A routing study resulted in three potential routes intended to minimize adverse impacts to residents, their land and the natural environment while providing a technically viable and cost-effective transmission line. As part of the transparent review/input process, ITC and Westar met with state and local officials, local business leaders, landowners, residents and environmental organizations to fully discuss the project, review proposed routes and address questions. The routes were presented to potentially affected landowners during community open house events in December 2012 in each county along the route. Landowners along the proposed routes had the opportunity to review the routes and provide input to Westar and ITC. The companies considered input from all stakeholders equally in developing a final preferred route which was submitted to the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) on May 3, 2013. The KCC issued an order on August 27, 2013, approving the proposed route with minor modifications.
“ITC is committed to helping Kansas and the region modernize and expand critical energy infrastructure. This project reinforces the value that ITC brings to the region as a transmission owner and operator by providing much needed transmission investment across the footprint.”
– Brett Leopold, President of ITC Great Plains
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WHAT DOES THE LINE LOOK LIKE?
The line is comprised of steel monopoles. Structure height varies based on terrain, clearances to the ground, objects under the line and structure spacing, but typically range between 120 and 160 feet. The span lengths between structures are approximately 800 to 1,500 feet, with an average span of 900 feet.
WHO BUILT THE LINE AND MANAGED THE CONSTRUCTION?
ITC jointly owns and operates the northern half of the full project with Mid-Kansas Electric Company, LLC (MKEC). ITC provided project management services and coordination for engineering and construction of the northern half of the line and Westar Energy provided the same services for the southern half.
WHO APPROVED THIS PROJECT?
The project was reviewed and approved by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the organization designated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to oversee the high-voltage grid in the multi-state region that includes Kansas. The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) reviewed and approved the route applications submitted by both ITC/MKEC and Westar in 2013.
WHO PAYS FOR TRANSMISSION LINE AND FACILITIES?
Because the line benefits the entire region in terms of improved reliability and increased efficiency, the majority of the cost will be recovered from all customers in the Southwest Power Pool region which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.
WHAT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS WERE CONSIDERED WITH THE SITING OF THE PROJECT?
We worked closely with appropriate agencies and organizations to take reasonable precautions to assure any direct environmental impact was appropriately identified and addressed. We adhered to all state and federal regulations to protect native plants, threatened or endangered species, wetlands and water and air quality.