ICC Approves Key Illinois Transmission Line

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Commonwealth Edison's (ComEd) Grand Prairie Gateway Project, a transmission line that is expected to remove wind energy bottlenecks in Illinois, has received approval by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

According to the company, the line will extend for 60 miles across Ogle, Dekalb, Kane and DuPage counties. The new line will create immediate customer savings by reducing grid congestion, increasing customers' access to lower-cost generation, including wind power. Construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of next year, and the line is expected to be in service in 2017.

‘As the competitive electricity market expands, transmission lines become congested over time, just like highways do as the communities around them grow,’ says Terence Donnelly, ComEd executive vice president and chief operating officer. ‘This congestion impedes the flow of low-cost energy, increasing the cost of delivering that energy to our customers, and we're obligated to solve that problem. We are pleased that the Commission has recognized the need for this important new line, which will offset those increases just as soon as it's energized.’

The line will expand ComEd customers' access to generation by approximately 1 GW, providing greater access to clean energy.

‘Congestion on the system is inhibiting the lowest cost generating plants – like wind – from getting power to customers that want it,’ says Sean Brady, regional policy manager of Wind on the Wires. ‘These bottlenecks force wind farms to operate less efficiently and restrain the future development of more environmentally friendly wind generation in Illinois, so this project will further promote a competitive marketplace and the continued growth of wind power.’

The 345kV electric transmission line will be constructed between ComEd's existing substations near the communities of Byron and Wayne. The route would begin at the Byron substation and run east until Plato Center in Kane County, where the line would run southeast along railroad corridors to the substation near Wayne. The project adds a third major transmission path across the ComEd territory, which also enhances reliability, particularly during extreme weather events.

The need for the project was first identified as part of the annual regional planning process managed by PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization that plans and operates the ComEd transmission system.

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