Clearing two important regulatory hurdles, the Topeka, Kan.-based ITC Great Plains, a subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., announced its plans to invest in transmission infrastructure improvements in the state of Kansas. As a result, these plans are now one step closer to reality.
This winter, the Regional State Committee of Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP), the organization overseeing regional transmission planning in several states, including Kansas, approved developing a new rate structure for qualifying capital projects that apportions the costs of the projects over a broader geographic area, commonly referred to as a “postage stamp rate.” SPP also approved its 2008–2017 Strategic Transmission Expansion Plan (STEP) document, which includes two high-voltage transmission projects sponsored by ITC Great Plains. Both SPP actions will have a positive impact on the company’s plans.
ITC Great Plains has plans to build two new transmission projects: a 180-mile high-voltage line running between Spearville, Kan., and Axtell, Neb., that has been awarded to ITC Great Plains by the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority (KETA); and the Kansas V plan, another 180-mile line connecting Spearville to Wichita, Kan.
ITC Great Plains is working through the process to qualify both projects for the balanced portfolio of projects for which the postage stamp rate is applicable. The company also will continue to pursue regulatory approvals with the Kansas Corp. Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The postage stamp rate is SPP’s first cost-allocation mechanism for transmission infrastructure projects it designates as “economic.” The postage stamp rate will spread the costs of these needed transmission projects across a broader customer base, thereby rendering financially viable projects that anticipate future transmission needs.