Feedback sought on energy project
An energy company with a plan to develop a new overhead electric transmission project in Pennsylvania and Maryland to increase consumer access to more affordable power in the region will host a series of open houses to gain feedback on its idea.
Transource Energy, a partnership between American Electric Power and Great Plains Energy, wants to develop the Independence Energy Connection, a $320 million project connecting two existing 500-kilovolt transmission lines in Pennsylvania, along with two new additional pathways for electricity to alleviate electric gridlock.
According to PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization responsible for managing the high-voltage electric grid for 13 states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland, the project will save the region’s customers approximately $600 million in electric costs over the next 15 years.
Residents’ electric providers would not change due to the plan. “This really doesn’t affect your distribution system. It will provide your electric companies access to lower cost electricity that can be beneficial to customers,” explained Todd Burns, Transource Energy director.
The project’s electric system upgrades include approximately 40 miles of new 230-kV overhead transmission lines, two new substations and additional upgrades to integrate the facilities into the grid.
The east segment of the project includes approximately 15 miles of new overhead electric transmission line that will connect a new substation to be constructed in southern York County, to the existing Conastone Substation near Norrisville in Harford County, Md.
The west segment of the project will include nearly 25 miles of new overhead electric transmission line that will connect a new substation to be constructed in Franklin County to the existing Ringgold Substation near Smithsburg, Md., in Washington County.
Tentative plans for the substation situate it off Interstate 81 north of Chambersburg.
The plan is just that right now — a plan. “We are not proposing anything yet,” Burns said. “Our process is to take out to the public everything we think we can work between Point A and Point B and take comments on it.
“We’ve identified two potential substation locations but … there could be something else that would come up that would be beneficial,” Burns said.
Burns said in addition to the substations, towers would need to be installed across the region to run lines to the substations.
“We’re looking at probably 5 towers per mile on average,” he said
But as with the substation, no definite route for towers has been planned.
“We’re looking for input people have about their own properties — a reason why they would support or not support a line going across a portion of their properties or the community,” he said. “We try to balance the need for electricity and the disturbances the infrastructure or power lines cause.”
Transource has planned a series of open house meetings to get feedback on the plans.