Addressing the need to increase the reliability and long-term availability of electric power, NSTAR, Boston, Massachusets, recently completed the first phase of its 345-kV Transmission Reliability Project. The initiative, which seeks to create three new underground transmission lines, will provide the capability to deliver up to 1800 MW of power to the Greater Boston area. Civil construction of all three lines was completed in 2006, with two of the three lines energized in the Spring of 2007. The second phase of the project, set to begin in the upcoming year, will include the installation and activation of the third underground line.
"This is a significant breakthrough for electricity users all across New England," said Thomas J. May, President, CEO, and Chairman of NSTAR. "This project will help set our region on a solid course toward greater electric reliability, and benefit every resident and business in our region for years to come."
The 345-kV project will also provide economic benefits by reducing the area’s reliance on older, higher-cost power-generating plants. A study by ISO New England recommends adding new power lines, like the new 345-kV lines, to the regional system to meet future growth in electricity use and to offset the potential retirement of some local plants. Consumer demand for electricity has increased by 20 percent over the past several years, and this growth is expected to continue.
The new transmission lines, approximately 18 miles in length, run through several Boston neighborhoods including South Boston, Hyde Park, Dorchester, and Mattapan, and extend south through Milton, Canton and Stoughton.
NSTAR transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to 1.4 million customers in Eastern and Central Massachusetts, including over one million electric customers in 81 communities and nearly 300,000 gas customers in 51 communities.