Heartland Park Transmission Line Upgrade

Evergy is preparing to upgrade an aging power system built in the early 1940s that is nearing the end of its service life. In the 80 years since the existing power system was put into service, the power needs of south and east Topeka have changed drastically.

What to expect

The improvements will enhance reliability and strengthen the regional power grid, allowing us to serve homes and businesses well into the future.

  • We will rebuild 4.3 miles of existing 115 kV electrical transmission line connecting the Heartland substation, located at SW 77th Street and SW Topeka Boulevard, to near SE 81st and SE Croco Road
  • We will also build 1.9 miles of new 115 kV electrical transmission line between SE 81st Street and SE Croco Road and SE 89th Street and SE Paulen Road

This project is part of Evergy’s long-range plan to upgrade the transmission grid in eastern Kansas and increase electric reliability in south and east Topeka, as well as northern Osage County.

Heartland project map

Timeline

heartland transmission upgrade timeline

Design

We will replace existing wood H-frame structures with new steel H-frame structures. Steel poles are utilized for reliability and resiliency with the harsh weather conditions our communities can face. The existing structures only carry one circuit of electricity, while the new structures will carry two circuits. The new structures will likely be about 30 to 40 feet taller than existing structures and will likely be about 600 to 850 feet apart.

Heartland Transmission diagram

Real Estate

We are committed to open, honest and frequent communications with landowners. We contacted landowners who have property on the transmission line route and purchased the easements necessary to build the line. We also discussed what to expect from our construction efforts and restoration practices. Our intent is to leave property in a state comparable to pre-construction.

Health and Environment

Evergy believes the environment is an important factor when planning and designing transmission line projects. We work closely with the appropriate organizations from the beginning of projects to make sure any direct environmental impact is appropriately identified and addressed.

What is the Heartland Park project?
We will rebuild 4.3 miles of existing 115 kV electrical transmission line connecting the Heartland substation, located at SW 77th Street and SW Topeka Boulevard, to near SE 81st and SE Croco Road. We will also build 1.9 miles of new 115 kV electrical transmission line between SE 81st Street and SE Croco Road and SE 89th Street and SE Paulen Road.

Why is this line needed?
Evergy is preparing to upgrade an aging power system built in the early 1940s that is nearing the end of its service life. In the 80 years since the existing power system was put into service, the power needs of eastern Kansas have changed drastically. The improvements will enhance reliability and strengthen the regional power grid, allowing us to serve homes and businesses well into the future. This project is part of Evergy’s long-range plan to upgrade the transmission grid in eastern Kansas and increase electric reliability in south and east Topeka, as well as northern Osage County.

Who will benefit from the project?
This project will benefit residents and businesses in Topeka, eastern Kansas and beyond by strengthening the regional power grid and improving reliability. It also will provide tax revenue, construction jobs, local expenditures and will expand capabilities for future investment in area industry.

Who pays for transmission lines and facilities?
Because the project will entirely benefit Evergy customers, all the costs will be recovered from Evergy customers.

Who is responsible for this project?
Evergy
will construct and own the new transmission line. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) operates the transmission system in the region for this transmission line. SPP will direct Evergy to operate the new transmission line.

When will the line be built?
The project is scheduled to be complete and in-service by December 2021. We are forecasting construction work to begin in June 2021.

What will the line look like?
We will replace existing wood H-frame structures with new steel H-frame structures. Steel poles are utilized for reliability and resiliency with the harsh weather conditions our communities can face. The existing structures only carry one circuit of electricity, while the new structures will carry two circuits. The new structures will likely be about 30 to 40 feet taller than existing structures and will likely be about 600 to 850 feet apart.

How was right-of-way acquired for this project?
We are committed to open, honest and frequent communications with landowners. We contacted landowners who have property on the transmission line route and purchased the easements necessary to build the line. One-time payments were provided, negotiated up-front, based on determination of the market property values in the local area.  These easements will allow property owners to continue most uses of their property.

Who will build the lines and manage the construction?
Evergy will design and construct the transmission line using both Evergy resources and subcontractors depending on the task. Evergy will provide project management services and coordination during construction of the project.

How much will the project cost?
Since the project isn’t complete, final costs haven’t been determined, but the initial estimated investment for the transmission line is approximately $15 million.

What environmental impacts were considered with the siting of the project?
Evergy believes the environment is an important factor when planning and designing transmission line projects. We work closely with appropriate organizations, including the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Kansas Historical Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy from the beginning of projects to make sure any direct environmental impact is appropriately identified and addressed. We believe this kind of collaboration leads to developing a transmission line route that aligns with federal and state energy and environmental policy objectives. We adhere to all state and federal regulations to protect native plants, threatened or endangered species, wetlands and water and air quality.

Regulatory and Government Policy

Which regulatory bodies will have to approve the project?

The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) is the regulatory body with oversight regarding the siting of such transmission line projects in the state of Kansas. We have obtained the required Electric Service Line permit from the KCC for this project.

Participants:

Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) regulates and has the responsibility of ensuring electric utilities provide safe, adequate and reliable services at reasonable rates. The mission of the KCC is to protect the public interest through impartial and efficient resolution of all jurisdictional issues.

Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale prices of electricity. SPP operates subject to a tariff filed with and governed by FERC. This tariff contains over 2,100 pages of rates, terms and conditions for providing transmission service to SPP’s customers to move wholesale electric power within and across SPP’s 17-state footprint.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the transmission and wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce and ensures the reliability of high-voltage interstate transmission systems.

Evergy, Inc. (Evergy) (NYSE: EVRG) serves approximately 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri. We generate nearly half the power we provide to homes and businesses with emission-free sources. We support our local communities where we live and work, and strive to meet the needs of customers through energy savings and innovative solutions.