In order to improve the reliability of high-voltage electrical service in the Kalamazoo area, ITC Michigan, through its Michigan Electric Transmission Company (METC) subsidiary, is constructing a new substation and two new transmission lines in Almena and Oshtemo townships. This project will reduce the demand on the area’s main high-voltage substation by providing an additional source of energy for the region. In July 2013 the Michigan Public Service Commission granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity establishing an approved route for the transmission lines. Construction was completed in spring 2016.
The majority of the electrical demand in the Kalamazoo area is served from one high-voltage substation located about 20 miles north of the city. It has three transformers that “step down” the voltage from 345,000 volts (345 kV) to 138 kV. Losing one of these transformers after the outage of another, such as during a maintenance period, would cause the only remaining transformer to be overloaded. In that case the transformer would have to be shut down in order to prevent it from being damaged. The 138 kV system then would attempt to draw power from elsewhere in the system depending on what is available.
WANT TO SEE ALL THE PROJECT DETAILS?
WHY IS THIS PROJECT NECESSARY?
The majority of the electrical demand in the Kalamazoo area currently is served from one high-voltage substation north of Kalamazoo. The new Weeds Lake substation west of the city and the new lines will provide additional service from a separate source, increasing the reliability of electrical service in the Kalamazoo area.
WHERE WILL THIS PROJECT BE LOCATED?
The new substation, Weeds Lake, will be located in Almena Township near the Kalamazoo-Van Buren county line. The substation will draw from an existing north-south 345,000 volt line near the Kalamazoo-Van Buren County line. Two new double-circuit 138,000-volt (138 kV) transmission lines will be constructed to connect the substation to two existing high-voltage lines west of US 131. The line route will span approximately 6.3 miles east through Oshtemo Township in Kalamazoo County.
WHAT WILL THE NEW LINES LOOK LIKE?
The new 138 kV lines will be supported by two sets of doublecircuit, steel monopole structures similar to the ones in the photo at right. The conductors (wires) will be in a vertical orientation.
HOW MUCH RIGHT OF WAY WILL BE NEEDED FOR THIS PROJECT?
The new 138 kV lines will require approximately 6.3 miles of new right of way to connect the substation to two existing high-voltage lines in Kalamazoo. ITC intends to enter into mutually beneficial easement agreements with property owners for the line right of way.
HOW WILL ITC WORK WITH LANDOWNERS?
ITC is committed to open, honest and frequent communications with landowners. We work respectfully with landowners throughout the design and construction process to minimize impacts to their properties.
WHAT IS THE ROUTE APPROVAL PROCESS?
ITC has obtained a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Michigan Public Service Commission. The certificate establishes an approved route for the lines.
WHEN WILL THIS PROJECT START, AND HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Construction will start after all necessary real estate rights are secured and engineering design is completed. At this time work is anticipated to begin in 2015 with an in-service date late in 2015 or early in 2016.
WILL THIS LINE EMIT ELECTRO-MAGNETIC FIELDS (EMF)?
Yes, EMF exist wherever there is a flow of electricity, including around power distribution and transmission lines, as well as around electrical wiring in homes and businesses, and electric appliances and equipment. Over the past 30 years, many scientific studies have been conducted on EMF and health. This research has been reviewed by leading public health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which currently finds that “despite extensive research, to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.” If you have additional EMF questions, please contact ITC’s Customer Toll-Free Line at 877.ITC.ITC9 (877.482.4829).