Transmission Lines

Black Hills Energy is seeking approval for a certificate of public convenience/necessity from the Wyoming Public Service Commission to construct an estimated 260-mile, $260 million dollar electric transmission expansion project in eastern Wyoming and in northwestern Nebraska. BHE applied to the commission Feb. 15 for this project.

If approved, “Ready Wyoming” will begin construction in 2023, with the last segments placed into service in 2025.

The proposed project route will go through Laramie, Platte, Converse and Goshen counties, interconnecting BHE’s Cheyenne, eastern Wyoming and South Dakota electric transmission systems.

Black Hills Energy Community Relations Program Manager Laurie Farkas said the proposed routing in Converse County will skirt around Douglas but will not involve Glenrock.

“The transmission project is needed to serve the current and growing needs of Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power customers. The project will be funded by internally generated funds and short term borrowings by the company. The cost recovery associated with the project is subject to approval by the Wyoming Public Service Commission as part of a future application. The customers in the service area and those who utilize the transmission system will be the parties impacted by the recovery of the project, which is estimated to save customers $130 million over 15 years, with savings continuing beyond that period,” Farkas said.

Ready Wyoming is expected to help maintain the reliability of the Cheyenne Light system, enhance the resiliency of the overall electric system and expand access to power markets and renewable resources.

The transmission line system will primarily traverse private and state lands, without crossing any federal lands. Communication with private landowners is already underway, she said.

“. . . they include an introduction letter to the project, a fact sheet on the project and an aerial map of the property and the proposed transmission lines. These communications (with landowners) will continue and progress as we move through the application process.”

The project is expected to create approximately 1,400 jobs during construction, but it’s too early for the company to estimate just how many of those will be in Converse County. BHE will, however, “make every effort to hire local workers for the project. We’re still too early in the process to provide specific information about the construction process,” she said.

The company said on the project’s FAQ on their website that they prefer to hire local construction contractors and suppliers whenever possible.

Wyoming Operations Vice President Mark Stege said the company is excited about the Ready Wyoming project.

“Ready Wyoming will allow us to meet our customers’ energy needs today and well into the future, while enhancing the resiliency of our electric system and expanding access to power markets and renewable energy resources,” Stege said.

The company’s Wyoming electric utility, Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power, currently serves approximately 44,000 electric customers while operating and maintaining 1,300 miles of electric distribution and 58 miles of electric transmission lines.

The Ready Wyoming expansion project includes one new substation, two replacement substations, four expanded substations, three new 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines, and two new 115 kV transmission lines.

“Our teams of energy experts continually analyze our natural gas and electric systems in order to maintain safety and resiliency, and provide the amount of energy necessary to fulfill the growing demands. We do this while working diligently to create cost efficiencies for our customers,” Farkas noted.

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