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The requirements of a network equivalent to be used in new planning tools are very different from those used in traditional equivalencing procedures. For example, in the classical Ward equivalent, each generator in the external system is broken up into fractions. For newer long-term investment applications that take into account such things as greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations and generator availability, it is computationally impractical to model fractions of generators located at many buses. To overcome this limitation, a modified- Ward equivalencing scheme is proposed in this paper. The proposed scheme is applied to the entire Eastern Interconnection (EI) to obtain several backbone equivalents and these equivalents are tested for accuracy under a range of operating conditions. In a companion paper, the application of an equivalent developed by this procedure is used to perform optimal generation investment planning.