Invenergy Transmission has entered a deal to buy up to 12,500 miles of advanced technology conductor cable from Prysmian Group North America, the companies said Wednesday.
The deal that runs through 2029 will support Invenergy Transmission’s 5,000-MW Grain Belt Express and New Mexico North Path high-voltage direct-current, or HVDC, lines. Terms of the transaction weren’t announced.
As a result of the deal, Prysmian will expand a manufacturing facility in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, doubling the company’s ability to make in the U.S. its E3X® advanced conductor technology that increases the capacity, efficiency and reliability of transmission lines, according to Prysmian.
The deal signals another step in the Grain Belt line, set to run about 800 miles from Kansas to Indiana, and other projects, Shashank Sane, executive vice president for transmission at Invenergy, said.
“It's a clear indicator of how we're thinking past the development stage and to actually getting these built,” he said. “They aren't just ideas anymore.”
The Illinois Commerce Commission in March approved a permit for the roughly $7 billion Grain Belt project. With the ruling, Invenergy Transmission, part of privately-held Invenergy, said it has secured initial siting approvals for the HVDC portion of the Grain Belt line by utility regulators in all states along the project’s route: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
Invenergy Transmission in January selected Siemens Energy to supply the HVDC technology for the first phase of the two-phase project, which is set to begin construction in late 2024. The project is designed to deliver 2,500 MW from the Southwest Power Pool into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator market and an equivalent amount to the PJM Interconnection, according to the ICC’s decision.
The Grain Belt line will have two circuits, each with three or four conductors, depending on the final design, so each mile will have six to eight miles of cable, Sane said.
The Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office is reviewing an application for a loan to finance the Grain Belt project’s first phase, set to run 530 miles in Kansas and Missouri. The office expects to issue a draft environmental impact statement this fall and make a final decision in the summer of 2024.
Also, Invenergy Transmission is partnering with the New York Power Authority and energyRe on the $11 billion Clean Path New York project, which includes 4 GW of wind and solar and a 175-mile underground transmission line.
Invenergy Transmission is developing other projects that haven’t been announced, according to Sane. The company may unveil at least one of them in a “few months,” he said.
There are reasons to be optimistic about the outlook for U.S. transmission development, Sane said, pointing to major projects that are starting construction or nearing it. They include the Grain Belt, Champlain Hudson, SunZia and TransWest Express lines, which are mainly 500-kV and above, and would run about 2,420 miles, delivering about 12,750 MW of emissions-free electricity all together. In the last two years, 0.3 miles of 500-kV line entered service in the U.S., according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report.
But there is “still lots to be done,” such as spurring regional transmission organizations to remove barriers to merchant HVDC transmission lines, Sane said.