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New Transmission Project

A new high-voltage power line project, known as the System Backbone Project, will provide a boost in load-serving capability and reliability in Gray and Finney counties. The project includes a 25-mile, 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line and three new substations – Twin Springs, Charleston and Santa Fe. The project is owned and operated by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation.

The project was developed through the local planning process and will provide many benefits.

“Building this project rather than constructing temporary transmission solutions will allow Lane-Scott
Electric Cooperative and Wheatland Electric Cooperative to save money while addressing service constraints in their territories,” said Stuart Lowry, president and chief executive officer of Sunflower.

Victory Electric Cooperative Association will also benefit from this project, as the project will provide a redundant feed to a large load pocket in their service territory.

“We are very excited about the completion of this project because it will provide our membership with enhanced high-quality, reliable energy,” said Ed Wiltse, general manager of Lane-Scott.

In August of 2017, public information meetings were held to explain the project’s purpose and potential routes. Based on the public’s feedback, along with routing constraints of the area—homes, businesses, agricultural areas, active oil leases and river crossings—a preferred route was identified.  

Survey and easement work were completed by the end of 2018, and pole foundations were completed in January.  Generally, approximately four poles can be set per day in good weather.  Although the project is on schedule, the unpredictable Kansas weather may impact project milestones. Sunflower is committed to completing the project on time, with the safety of employees, contractors, and public always the priority. The transmission line is scheduled for completion by mid-July, and the three substations will be completed by mid-fall.

“Sunflower appreciates the support the project has received from the surrounding communities and affected landowners,” said Nate Burns, manager of electric operations of Lane Scott. “Project support is key to a successful project.”

Once the Twin Springs Substation is complete on the System Backbone Project, the Jagger Substation, can be interconnected to the system, allowing reliable and flexible electric distribution to the area. 

The Jagger Substation will be constructed with outage-reducing technology. Construction will begin in early Spring 2019. The System Backbone Project and the Jagger Substation project will work in tandem to bring improved reliable service to the Lane-Scott service territory.

The substation, owned and operated by Sunflower, will be located west of Dighton and will connect to the existing Ness City-to- Scott City 115 kilovolt (kV) line. This transmission line provides a feed to

 “The Dighton-to-Scott City area is vulnerable to outages,” said Wiltse. “This substation will greatly reduce the likelihood of long outages and positively impact the entire Lane-Scott footprint.” 

Currently, the transmission line from Ness City-to-Scott City does not have automated sectionalizing technology, which prevents outages from occurring on entire transmission line. Transmission lines that lack automation often require a lineman to manually open switches at a substation location to isolate the section of line experiencing the outage, a very time-consuming process that can prolong the amount of time people go without power. 

“Without this technology, a weather event like an ice storm or tornado could potentially create an outage for all customers along the Dighton-to-Scott City 115 kV line,” said Al Tamimi, vice president transmission planning and policy at Sunflower.

Construction is scheduled to begin in June, and the substation expected to be in service by late 2019.  

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