The Greater Springfield Reliability Project – a major transmission upgrade to improve reliability in the region – is now complete. Connecticut Light & Power and Western Massachusetts Electric Co. finished the project both on-time and under budget, despite challenging storms that included Superstorm Sandy and the blizzard of 2013.
“As electricity demand continues to grow, a strong, reliable transmission system is essential to meeting our customers’ energy needs and the region’s economic health,” said Laurie Foley, Vice President of Transmission Projects, Engineering & Maintenance at Northeast Utilities, parent company of CL&P and WMECo. “We are very grateful for the cooperation and patience of our customers and neighbors, as well as state and local officials, who worked closely with us during this important reliability upgrade. With their support, we were able to maintain an aggressive construction schedule, while overcoming severe weather events and challenging terrain.”
This important transmission upgrade improves the flow of power in and around the greater Springfield, north-central Connecticut area, while connecting customers to less expensive, more efficient generation. The project upgraded 39 miles of transmission lines on an existing right-of-way between Ludlow, Mass., and Bloomfield, Conn., with more than 600 new structures, and 13 new or rebuilt substations and switching stations. The project cost was estimated at $718 million, but CL&P and WMECo came in more than $40 million below that estimate. In the first year of service alone, this project will add more than $13 million to local municipal tax revenues in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.
Even though construction was carried out during a period of historic storms, the pace of line work was accelerated during favorable weather conditions which helped increase productivity and decrease costs. Additional project costs were saved by contracting early with highly-skilled contractors, and making carefully-timed purchases of commodities, that include steel and copper products. The project also brought environmental benefits to the towns it traversed with enhancements to existing wetlands, protection of farmland and critical wildlife habitat. In addition, the companies utilized helicopters to string the new lines which further reduced impacts to sensitive areas along the right-of-way and sped up the construction schedule.
GSRP is just one of the projects associated with the New England East-West Solution (NEEWS). Northeast Utilities is preparing to break ground on another NEEWS project, the Interstate Reliability Project, early next year in eastern Connecticut. 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.