On Friday, Jan. 13, crews energized one of Liberty’s largest transmission projects, doubling the capacity of one of the most overloaded lines in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).
SPP is a regional transmission organization mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure, and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members, which include Liberty.
The line in Riverton, Kan., was built nearly 100 years ago – the steel lattice tower constructed from Carnegie Steel.
“The line didn’t have the capacity for what the transmission system needs today,” says Lucas Shepherd, Senior Manager of Strategic Projects-Transmission and Distribution. “The Southwest Power Pool evaluates the system and mandates utilities to make upgrades for the integrity of the system.”
A total of 26 miles of line was built parallel to the old infrastructure, going from a single-conductor to a double-conductor configuration and from lattice towers to steel mono poles. Work had been mandated to be completed by October 2023.
The work had been planned and engineered over the last six years by Liberty Planning, Engineering, and Strategic Projects. It was a project that – at its peak – saw more than 100 Liberty employees and contractors hard at work. There was very minimal impact to customers in terms of outages, Shepherd said.
Beginning in Riverton, the line connects to Evergy (an electric utility serving Missouri and Kansas) at the Labette and Cherokee County line, ultimately connecting at a substation in Neosho County, Kan.
“Evergy built the last two miles of line on their end,” said Shepherd. “This transmission will be a benefit to all of our customers. It opens the floodgates to allow more flow of energy, reducing transmission cost and improving reliability for our customers.”
With the build-out of renewable energy in the western portions of SPP, this line will further allow this clean energy to reach the eastern side of SPP and our service territory.