$140 million estimated cost of new Quincy electrical transmission line

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MOSES LAKE — The cost to build a new electrical transmission line from Wanapum Dam to Quincy is estimated to be $140.8 million, and the project is estimated to be completed in 2026. The estimates were provided to Grant County PUD commissioners during the regular meeting Tuesday.

Jesus Lopez, senior manager of power delivery engineering for the PUD, said the cost estimates could be subject to change. “We’re very early in the process,” he said. PUD officials are confident those estimates are pretty close to the actual cost, Lopez added.

Commissioner Dale Walker asked if the PUD would be able to provide adequate electricity to customers while the project is under construction. PUD General Manager Kevin Nordt said transmission capability is adequate for the current load, but expansion will be needed to meet projected future growth.

Shane Lunderville of the PUD said the Quincy area is projected to hit capacity by about 2024. The project would add about 14.8 percent to the utility district’s 230-megawatt transmission system.

The new transmission line would be 32 miles, from the Wanapum Dam to the existing Mountain View switchyard, Lopez said. Utility district officials also would finish the Mountain View switchyard and build a new switchyard at Monument Hill, near Quincy. The project also includes additional equipment at two switchyards in Quincy and at the Rocky Ford substation.

Estimated costs were $79.3 million for the line construction, $11.1 million to finish the Mountain View switchyard, $20.3 million to build the Monument Hill switchyard, $12.6 million for additional equipment in the two Quincy switchyards and Rocky Ford, and $16.3 million for associated costs.

If commissioners agree to the project, construction on the switchyards and additional equipment would begin in 2020, Lopez said. He estimated that picking and designing the line route, obtaining right-of-ways and permits will take about four years. “Those are the time-consuming part(s) of the project.”

The line construction itself will take about a year, Lopez said.

Power line construction proposals can bring controversy in their wake. Lopez said PUD officials plan to talk to people along proposed routes in an effort to address any concerns.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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