This is cross-posted from the Illinois Commerce Commission website on 10/23/14.

The Illinois Commerce Commission issued an order, Docket 13-0657, Wednesday granting ComEd authority to build, operate and maintain a 345 kV high voltage transmission line from the Byron substation through Ogle, DeKalb, Kane and DuPage counties.

The transmission line, known as the Grand Prairie Gateway, would extend nearly 70 miles through northern Illinois and is part of PJM’s regional transmission expansion plan, previously approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  ComEd is a member of the PJM Regional Transmission Organization.

ComEd filed a petition in December 2013 seeking a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct the line saying it would increase transmission capability, reduce transmission congestion in the region, cut carbon emissions by nearly half a million tons and  reduce retail electricity costs to ComEd customers.

The Commission determined the transmission line would allow greater access to renewable energy west of Illinois, which should enhance competition in the electricity markets.

As part of a review of its request for a certificate of public convenience and necessity, the Commission must consider a number of issues.  Among those issues are whether there is a public benefit from the project, if it will promote the development of a competitive market, if it is the least cost means of satisfying those objectives and whether it is the optimal route for the project.  In reviewing evidence that suggested the net benefits of the project to ratepayers will be in the range of $121.1 million to $324.6 million, the Commission found that the benefits of the transmission line project far exceeded the costs.

The company estimated the cost to construct the Grand Prairie Gateway project at about $251 million. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2015.

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