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Energy grid is being enhanced

By Staff | Dec 30, 2016

A new high-voltage transmission line that will result in a smarter and more reliable energy grid in an area that includes Webster County has been successfully installed by MidAmerican Energy Co., according to Ashton Hockman, media relations representative.

The line will have the capability to deliver more energy or a higher supply to Fort Dodge, Hockman said.

That energy will help to support any new business and industry moving to the area, Hockman reported.

The line spans approximately 120 miles and touches portions of six northwest Iowa counties.

Those counties include Clay, Humboldt, Kossuth, O’Brien, Palo Alto and Webster.

The 345-kilovolt transmission line, known as Multi-Value Project 3, starts near Sanborn and goes east to Burt before heading south. The line ends northeast of Fort Dodge on Samson Avenue, between 150th Street and 160th Street.

Construction on the line began in September 2014 and was completed in December.

The project is part of a larger transmission expansion plan to improve the energy grid in the Midwest.

That plan was unanimously approved in 2011 by Midcontinent Independent Transmission System Operator Inc.

MidAmerican partnered with ITC Midwest for the portion of the project that includes Webster County.

Helicopters were used for faster installation of the line and minimized the need for ground lift equipment, Hockman reported.

MidAmerican built two new substations, modified an existing substation and rebuilt existing 161-kilovolt transmission lines along the same route.

Two- and three-pole wood structures were replaced with single-pole steel structures.

Those improvements will result in fewer power poles per mile, less need for maintenance and increased land for farming, according to Hockman.

The steel poles are stronger and more resistant to ice and wind storms than the old ones, according to Steve Ambrose, project manager of high-voltage transmission for MidAmerican Energy.

“By updating the energy grid, we can better serve our customers,” Ambrose said in a written statement. “Over the years the population and energy needs have grown and so have our needs for reliability. Bigger houses, more technology and more appliances have led to increases in energy use.”

“By building new transmission lines, we can meet these demands and provide more reliable service to customers,” Ambrose added. “A smarter energy grid will also carry and deliver more wind energy through Iowa, and, ultimately to our customers.”

Ambrose said the project has also created economic benefits for local communities, including the use of locally made goods and services to build the project, landowner easement payments, and an increase in annual property tax payments to local counties.

“The project is vital to meeting the energy needs of customers in communities in northwest Iowa, including Fort Dodge,” Ambrose said. “In addition to improved reliability, the new transmission line will also carry and deliver more wind energy. Therefore, Fort Dodge may see an increase in the amount of locally generated wind energy they receive.”

Other projects MidAmerican is working on include: MVP 7, which is a 27-mile line through Appanoose, Davis and Wapello counties in Iowa and MVP 16, a three-mile line through Henry, Knox, Mercer and Rock Island counties in Illinois.

MVP 4, a 71-mile line through Black Hawk, Butler and Franklin counties, was completed in October.

Each of the projects are part of the plan approved by MISO.

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