Project Update

Trans Allegheny Interstate Line (TrAIL), US [free access]

June 1, 2011

Developer: Allegheny Energy

 

Project detail and status: The project is being developed by Allegheny's wholly owned subsidiary Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company (TrAILCO). This 500 kV transmission line was originally proposed to run 240 miles (386 km) across three states – Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. However, after facing severe opposition in Pennsylvania, the developers announced a rerouting of the project. Allegheny announced it would abandon the 36-mile (58 km) stretch passing through the state, but would build a "critical" 1.2 mile (about 2 km) stretch and a new substation in Greene County in Pennsylvania.

 

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) and West Virginia's Public Service Commission (PSC) have already approved the segments of the line passing through their respective states. The Pennsylvania PUC gave its approval for construction of the 1.2-mile (about 2 km) segment in November 2008.

 

The TrAIL project also includes construction of three new 138 kV lines in southwestern Pennsylvania, each approximately five miles in length. The project will interconnect to Dominion Virginia Power's substation in Loudon County, Virginia. Dominion will own, construct and operate part of TrAIL from Meadow Brook to Loudoun County. This 500 kV line is 65 miles (105 km) long and is estimated to cost USD243 million. The Virginia SCC approved Dominion's portion of the project in 2008. Dominion has begun construction on the project passing through in Culpeper and Fauquier areas of Virginia.

 

TrAILCO’s portion of the project is estimated to cost USD820 million. In August 2008, TrAILCO closed on a 7-year USD550 million senior secured loan facility for the project. In July 2008, FERC approved a return on equity (RoE) of 12.7 per cent for the TrAIL project and 11.7 per cent for other related projects undertaken to support TrAIL. Kenny Construction Company has been selected to oversee the construction management of the TrAIL project.

 

In November 2010, the Maryland PUC and Allegheny Energy reached an agreement wherein the company decided to drop plans to construct a 37 mile (59.57 km) stretch of the TrAIL project passing through the Washington and Greene counties. Allegheny also decided to drop plans to construct a new transmission substation near Eighty Four in central Washington County and 15 miles (24.15 km) of new 138 kV transmission lines. Instead, Allegheny will now upgrade existing lines and substations in the region. This will reduce the costs to USD11.6 million from USD213 million envisioned to be spent earlier.

 

According to PJM, the TrAIL project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2011.