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Western Massachusetts Electric Starts Construction on the Greater Springfield Reliability Project

12/21/2010 Transmission and distribution News Transmission and distribution

Western Massachusetts Electric Co. has broken ground for the Greater Springfield Reliability Project, a $795 million transmission upgrade designed to strengthen the region’s power grid, meet mandatory reliability standards, and allow power to move more freely around the greater Springfield, Massachusetts, and north-central Connecticut area.

Construction on the Greater Springfield Reliability Project has started at the new Cadwell Switching Station in Springfield, Mass., and at the existing Agawam Substation in Agawam, Mass. Construction of the overhead transmission line in Massachusetts is expected to begin on existing rights-of-way in early 2011.

“In addition to its reliability benefits, this project supports the region’s economic health by improving access to markets for electric suppliers and enhancing access to lower-cost and renewable energy resources,” said Peter Clarke, President and Chief Operating Officer of WMECo.

Construction on the Greater Springfield Reliability Project is expected to create more than a thousand jobs at the peak of construction while adding about $11 million in much-needed tax revenues to towns along the project route.

The project includes work along 39 miles of an existing transmission right-of-way between Ludlow, Mass., and Bloomfield, Conn. The 27-mile portion in Massachusetts includes new 345-kV transmission lines, new and reconstructed 115-kV lines, two new switching stations and several substation upgrades.

In Connecticut, construction is expected to begin with a substation upgrade in Bloomfield in mid-2011, and construction of the overhead line is expected to begin in late 2011.

The project is expected to be in service in 2013.

Greater Springfield Reliability Project is one of four transmission projects called the New England East-West Solution (NEEWS). Together these projects strengthen the reliability of the power grid within the regional transmission system by ensuring that national and regional reliability standards are met.