Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo) has received approval from the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) for the Greater Springfield Reliability Project (GSRP), a transmission upgrade designed to strengthen the region’s power grid, meet mandatory reliability standards, and allow power to move more freely around the greater Springfield and north-central Connecticut area. The Connecticut portion of the project received siting approval in March 2010.
“The EFSB’s recent decision on GSRP paves the way for construction to start later this year,” said Peter Clarke, President and Chief Operating Officer of WMECo. “In addition to its reliability benefits, this project supports the region’s economic health by improving access to markets for electric suppliers and enhancing access to lower-cost and renewable energy resources,” he said.
The company estimates the cost of GSRP to be $714 million but the total cost is currently being evaluated in light of the decision. The project includes work along 39 mi of an existing transmission right-of-way between Ludlow, Mass., and Bloomfield, Conn. The 27-mi portion in Massachusetts includes 23 mi of new 345-kV transmission lines, new and reconstructed 115-kV lines, two new switching stations and several substation upgrades. In Connecticut, there are 12 mi of new 345-kV transmission lines and a major substation expansion.
Work on the project will start in Massachusetts later this year at a new switching station in Springfield, with overhead line construction expected to begin in early 2011. In Connecticut, overhead line construction is scheduled to begin in late 2011. The project is expected to be in service in 2013.
GSRP is one of four transmission projects called the New England East-West Solution (NEEWS). Together these projects strengthen the reliability of the power grid within the regional transmission system by ensuring that national and regional reliability standards are met.
For additional information, visit www.NEEWSprojects.com.