Entergy Texas has proposed to design and build a new 230-kV transmission line in Jefferson County, Texas, which will connect Entergy Texas’ existing China and Amelia Bulk substations, in order to address reliability issues.
The China substation is located in China, Texas, while the Amelia Bulk substation is located just west of the city limits of Beaumont, Texas, the Entergy (NYSE:ETR) subsidiary said in its July 19 application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT).
The line, which will be located entirely in Jefferson County, Texas, will be between approximately 10 miles to 15 miles long, depending on the final route chosen.
The land within the project area is relatively open and flat, Entergy Texas said, adding that land uses include mainly pasture and crop land with some sparsely scattered urban residential areas. There are also numerous gas/oil wells scattered within that area.
Of the existing system, the company said the Western Region is the area of its transmission system generally defined as west of the Trinity River, including The Woodlands and Conroe load centers. The region has a relatively high load to generation ratio and is planned to withstand the loss of one of the Lewis Creek generators or Tenaska’s generation at the Frontier substation, coupled with the loss of one of the transmission lines in the region.
Entergy Texas also said that the lines used to import power into this region include one 345-kV line, two 230-kV lines and five 138-kV lines.
“The project is designed to address the forecasted transmission needs of [the company’s] service territory west of the Beaumont, Texas area,” the company said. “Construction of the project would provide an additional 230-kV transmission path needed to continue to reliably transfer electricity from sources in the east to [the company’s] customers in the Western Region area.”
The project would help to prevent line overloading and violations of NERC planning standards.
“Considering the present transmission system topology and firm resource contracts in place, along with planned network resource additions and planned approved transmission upgrades, [Entergy Texas] has determined that the 230-kV line would be necessary by the summer of 2016 in order to continue to provide adequate and reliable service to those customers served west of the Beaumont, Texas area,” the company said.
Entergy Texas noted that due to the nature of the issue being addressed by the proposed construction of the China – Amelia Bulk 230-kV line, distribution alternatives are not feasible, adding that the overloads that result from the contingencies specified are a result of the total load and its forecasted growth in the Western Region and are broad-based in nature, requiring a transmission solution to increase transport levels into the region.
Utility-owned distributed generation is not a feasible economic solution. In order to match the proposed solution capacity with distributed generation, at least 300 MW would have to be built and operated within the area and would only meet the need until the 2024 timeframe, the company added.
“Applying the least expensive technology to the 300 MW planned capacity of this project would cost approximately $75m and would only meet the need for the short term,” Entergy Texas said. “The approximate $31m to build the proposed transmission line is less expensive and would provide long-term benefits.”
Entergy Texas said that it will finance the construction with funds from various sources, including retained earnings, short-term loans and capital securities.
Among other things, the company said any other transmission solution would require building transmission facilities that would transport power generated by resources to the east to either China or some other substation west of China. Those alternative lines would be longer in length, more costly and require more right-of-way, the company said.