- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - While it isn’t slated to be complete until 2018, a 70-mile transmission line that will run across Howard County drew plenty of attention during its first public unveiling.

Community members got a chance to have some questions answered regarding the estimated $328-million construction project, which will run from Greentown to Reynolds. The 765kV transmission line is expected to modernize and expand the energy delivery system while improving access to regional power supplies.

On Tuesday, several residents from the Greentown area gathered at the Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Events Center hoping to learn more details about the transmission line from project representatives.

John Evenson, who lives north of Greentown, attended the open house hoping to have one major question answered: Where is the line going to run?

“I guess like anybody else, I hope it doesn’t run over the top of my house,” he told the Kokomo Tribune (https://bit.ly/1g4mURA ). “I don’t have any major concerns, I’m just trying to find out where it’s planned.”

Like Evenson, Greentown resident Stan Middlesworth said his property could be near where the transmission line intersects.

He came to the open house to learn more about where the line might run, but was satisfied with the information he was able to glean from project officials.

“You see a project like this, you don’t want it to cross over into your land,” Middlesworth said. “You try to see the big picture, though. It’s going to have to cross somewhere, and it’s for the good of all. You’ve got a choice, you can go along with it or you can try to work with it.”

Many of the residents’ more pressing questions will be answered during a second open house in May, where routing options will be showcased. Routes for the line will begin to be finalized sometime in July. Construction could start in early 2016, according to the project’s website.

In the meantime, Tuesday’s open house provided those in attendance with background about the project, including what factors are taken into account when planning the route. Some of the major factors addressed included overall length of the line, access and terrain and visual impacts, as well as proximity to residences, businesses, roads, churches, schools, irrigation systems, airports, federal and state lands and conservation areas.

While the project is still in the fact-finding stage, Jeremy Baksh, project manager for Duke Energy, said the goal is to walk residents through the process of how the project will be carried out.

“Obviously everybody wants to know, ‘How does this impact me?’” he said. “That’s been the initial question. As you walk folks through the process, you begin to show them the study area where there’s going to be some analysis. We can then drill into more detail at our May open house.”

The project is a joint effort between Pioneer Transmission and Northern Indiana Public Service Company, and is one of 17 priority projects required by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. Pioneer Transmission is a joint venture of Duke Energy and American Electric Power.

MISO controls and operates the transmission grid for 12 Midwest states, including Indiana. Studies conducted by MISO determined that improvement projects such as Greentown-Reynolds are necessary to maintain the reliability of the transmission grid while meeting local energy and reliability needs.

Greentown resident Robert Millspaugh, who already owns property near a transmission line constructed in the 1960s, said he still wants some questions answered about where the new line is going to be constructed.

He is confident, however, that the new transmission line will provide more stable electricity in the area without making as much noise as the old line.

“I think they did a pretty good job of explaining everything and answering all of our questions,” he said, “with the exception of not knowing where (the lines will go).

“The other line was noisy,” he added. “You drive over there and there’s a buzz and kind of a popping sound. With six lines in each (transmission line), it really takes away that noise and pop is what (project officials) said. That remains to be seen, but it may be more quiet.”


Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com

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