Texas state agency recommends least-cost route alternative for Waka connector

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has recommended the less expensive of two route alternatives presented by North Plains Electric Cooperative (NPEC) for a proposed four-mile, 115-kV transmission line project designed to allow load growth at a delivery point near Spearman, Texas.

TPWD made its route recommendation at the end of October in response to NPEC’s August application to build the new line to tap the Spearman Interchange-to-Ochiltree 115-kV transmission line and connect to a new substation proposed as part of the project.

The project proposal included two route alternatives within Ochiltree County, Texas, estimated at $4.5m and $5.0m. At the time of its application, NPEC had secured all right-of-way land acquisition for the less expensive route and about 5% of the other alternative.

NPEC, a member of Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, owns and maintains 272 miles of transmission lines.

According to NPEC’s application, the proposed 115-kV Waka substation would be a rebuild of the 69-kV Waka substation and is sited near the existing facility for easy interconnection to distribution feeders.

The route recommendation from TPWD recognized that the route alternatives for the project were “very similar,” but TPWD found that the more expensive option would require more structures and would result in more temporary and permanent vegetation disturbances.

NPEC’s proposal will accommodate new load on an existing 69-kV system that is operating near maximum capacity.

“This project transfers approximately 11.8 MW from the 69-kV system to the 115-kV system, improving the 69-kV system reliability,” NPEC said in its application. “NPEC’s Long Range Plan (LRP) showed historically the load had grown at 3.2% and load growth projections were based on this growth rate. The LRP projected the load at [the] Waka substation to be 10,915 kW in 2014. Since the LRP, this area has actually been growing at 4.7% as shown by the historical loads on the substation.”

NPEC anticipates beginning construction on the project this year and placing facilities in service by March 2013.