Smoky Hill and Southgate Transmission Line Upgrade

Evergy is preparing to rebuild an existing transmission line in Salina, Kansas. Although the line has been well maintained since it was built in the early 1930s, it's now time to replace equipment that's reached the end of its useful life.

What to expectMap of Salina transmission route

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 central Kansas and increase electric reliability in the Salina area.

  • We will rebuild 2.13 miles of existing 115 kV transmission line connecting the Smoky Hill Substation, located at Ninth Street and East Schilling Road, to the Southgate Substation, located one-fourth mile east of South Ohio Street and East Wayne Avenue.

Timeline

Timeline showing work beginning in summer of 2021 and ending in June of 2022

Real Estate

We are committed to transparent and timely 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.

Structures will likely be round steel single poles (existing structures are square lattice towers), and poles will likely be 75 to 105 feet tall (existing structures are 70 feet tall). Spacing between each pole will likely be between 150 to 790 feet (existing structures are approximately 650 feet apart), and the base of each pole will likely be between 2 to 3 feet in diameter (existing structures have a 17 by 17 feet square base).

Take a look through two old structure versus new structure examples below:

Comparison of old structure to new structure

Above structure images: left, structures along Belmont Boulevard and right, structures between Belmont Boulevard and Highland Avenue

What is the Smoky Hill-Southgate project?
We will rebuild 2.13 miles of existing 115 kV transmission line connecting the Smoky Hill Substation, located at Ninth Street and East Schilling Road, to the Southgate Substation, located one-fourth mile east of South Ohio Street and East Wayne Avenue.

Why is this line needed?
Evergy is preparing to rebuild an existing transmission line in Salina, Kansas. Although the line has been well maintained since it was built in the early 1930s, it's now time to replace equipment that's reached the end of its useful life.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 central Kansas and increase electric reliability in the Salina area.

Who will benefit from the project?
This project will benefit residents and businesses in Salina, central 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 June 2022. We are forecasting construction work to begin in October 2021.

What will the line look like?

  • Structures will likely be round steel single poles (existing structures are square lattice towers)
  • Poles will likely be 75 to 105 feet tall (existing structures are 70 feet tall)
  • Spacing between each pole will likely be between 150 to 790 feet (existing structures are approximately 650 feet apart)
  • Base of each pole will likely be between 2 to 3 feet in diameter (existing structures have a 17 by 17 feet square base)

With the completion date in the distant future, why is this line now being discussed?
Transmission projects require many years to permit, design, procure materials and construct. Almost all the major components are custom built and require long lead times.

How will right-of-way be acquired for this project?
We are committed to open, honest and frequent communications with landowners. We will contact landowners who have property on the transmission line route to discuss purchasing the easements necessary to build the line. This will allow property owners to continue most uses of their property. One-time payments are provided, typically negotiated up-front, based on determination of the market property values in the local area or based on the value of the easement as it affects the property. It is our goal to reach negotiated agreements with all landowners.

What if Evergy can't come to an agreement with landowners?
Fortunately, that is a rare occurrence. Evergy will make every effort to reach negotiated agreements. Evergy may exercise the right of eminent domain to obtain an easement after exhausting attempts through negotiations with a landowner.

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 $5 million.

What environmental impacts will be 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 will be required to obtain an Electric Service Line permit from the KCC.

Participants:

Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC)
The 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)
The 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)
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)
Evergy, Inc. (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.