Home » PSC approves new 345 kV and 138 kV transmission lines for Ford battery site

PSC approves new 345 kV and 138 kV transmission lines for Ford battery site

FRANKORT, Ky.The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC/Commission) on Friday approved electric transmission facilities construction for the megasite in Hardin County where the $5.8 billion BlueOvalSK Battery Park is under construction.

Kentucky Utilities Co. filed an application in March for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to construct two 345 kV transmission lines, two 138 kV transmission lines, and two associated substations in Hardin County. Because costs can become a factor in electric rate requests, the regulatory process requires the utility to demonstrate the need for the facilities and an absence of wasteful duplication to the Public Service Commission.

KU’s application states the transmission lines are necessary to provide service to the Glendale Megasite, the location of Ford Motor Co.’s proposed battery manufacturing facilities, and to meet expected future electrical load growth in the area.

The EV battery park, a collaboration between Ford and SK Innovation of South Korea, is expected to employ 5,000 when it opens in 2025 and will provide batteries for Ford electric vehicles built in North America for decades. It is the largest economic development project in Kentucky history.

Several parties were granted intervention in this case. On May 23, 2022, the Commission conducted a public comment meeting at Elizabethtown High School. The PSC conducted a formal hearing June 1 and on June 24 ordered an extension of the case until July 29, 2022.

In authorizing the CPCN, the PSC notes that KU has a statutory obligation to serve its customers, including Ford Motor Co., within KU’s service territory. The proposed battery manufacturing facilities will be large consumers of power, and the transmission facilities are necessary to meet those needs.

“Based on the evidence of record, including study results that indicate the current transmission system could not adequately serve Ford’s demand, not to mention future demand in the area, the Commission finds that KU has demonstrated a need for additional transmission to provide service to the Ford facilities and the Glendale Megasite,” the PSC order states.

KU expects to finance the cost of the construction with internally generated funds, while, according to KU’s application, Ford will be responsible for the 138 kV transformers and other associated “behind the meter” electrical equipment. These expenses are approximately $39 million and will be billed to Ford through an Excess Facilities Rider in KU’s tariff. KU and Ford are negotiating a special contract that will require PSC approval.

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