Sharyland Utilities is proposing to build the Antelope-Elk Energy Center (AEEC) to White River 345-kV transmission line to implement Golden Spread Electric Cooperative’s (GSEC) requested interconnection of its 774 MW gas-fired AEEC to the Sharyland Tule Canyon to Cottonwood 345-kV line in Floyd County, Texas.
GSEC is a transmission service customer serving its distribution cooperative members in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and therefore, Sharyland is obliged to provide transmission service, according to Sharyland’s Dec. 13 application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity for the proposed line filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT).
Sharyland said it will build the project to connect the AECC, north of the city of Abernathy in Hale County, Texas, to the ERCOT electric grid.
The AEEC, consisting of GSEC’s existing Antelope generating station and its new Elk generating station, will be a 774 MW (winter rating) gas-fired electric generation facility owned and operated by GSEC, and it will be connected to ERCOT using the proposed 345-kV White River Station, to be located northeast of the city of Floydada in Floyd County.
GSEC plans to build the new Elk generating station in time for one of the units to be available for commercial operation in the SPP by the summer of 2015, and by June 2016, along with the Antelope generating station, as a switchable resource in ERCOT, and for two additional units to available for commercial operation in ERCOT by June 2016.
After construction of the transmission project and GSEC’s planned generator interconnection facilities, GSEC’s existing Antelope station will be able to interconnect with either the SPP or ERCOT.
For GSEC’s new Elk station at the AEEC, GSEC’s board of directors has authorized and GSEC plans to build and operate 606 MW – winter rating – of new generation. GSEC plans to build and operate two of the three Elk Station units, Units 2 and 3, for a total of 404 MW, to serve GSEC’s distribution cooperative members located in ERCOT.
The generation interconnection will have such benefits as up to $4.5m in annual savings attributable to a reduction in production costs, and at least $8.1m in annual savings attributable to a reduction in unserved load.
The transmission project, which does not involve an HVDC transmission line, will be designed and operated as a 345-kV line and will be built on double-circuit capable structures. Initially, one circuit will be installed. Sharyland also said that it will build the new White River station along its existing Tule Canyon to Cottonwood 345-kV line, which was built at the direction of the PUCT as part of the competitive renewable energy zone (CREZ) initiative.
Of the estimated schedule, Sharyland said that right-of-way (ROW) and land acquisition, as well as engineering and design, will begin next August and be completed in July 2015.
Material and equipment procurement will begin next August and be completed in January 2016. Also, construction of the facilities will begin in August 2015 and be completed in May 2016. The facilities will be energized in May 2016.
According to the Dec. 13 direct testimony of Troy Vaughn, Sharyland project manager, the estimated cost for the proposed routes ranges from about $101.9m for Route 19 to about $117.9m for Route 11.
Sharyland expects to incur costs associated with interconnecting the proposed transmission line to the station endpoints, he said, noting that Sharyland will build the White River switching station, at the eastern terminus of the line. That station will tie into the ERCOT grid by dividing the Tule Canyon to Cottonwood transmission line.
The estimated cost for the White River station is about $35.4m. Vaughn also said that Sharyland will need to build the facilities necessary to tie the proposed line to the AEEC, and the estimated cost for those facilities is about $4.9m. The costs associated with those facilities and the White River station are the same for each alternative route.
He further noted that the route costs were developed by tabulating the component parts of the project, including engineering, materials and equipment costs, ROW and land acquisition costs, construction labor, and project management. Sharyland will finance the project through a combination of debt and equity.
Vaughn also noted that Sharyland hosted two public open house meetings in the study area in August and they were attended by 218 individuals. It also held an open house on Oct. 15, and 56 individuals attended that one.
Sharyland said in its application that the miles of ROW for all 21 alternative routes that it has proposed range from 50.4 miles for Route 9 to 57.9 miles for Route 18. Each alternative route is proposed to be built in Hale and Floyd counties in Texas.
The project will initially be single-circuit built on double-circuit capable structures, the company added, noting that therefore, the number of miles of circuit is the same as the number of miles of ROW. The potential miles of new transmission line circuit if both circuits were installed range from 100.8 miles for Route 9 to 115.7 miles for Route 18. The typical ROW is 175 feet wide and none of the ROW has been acquired.
The average height of typical structures will be 125 feet, the company added.
The project area is mainly rural with residential development concentrated in the cities and towns along the major roadways located within the Southern High Plains area of the High Plains physiographic region of Texas.
Among other things, Sharyland said that it will coordinate with all of the appropriate local, state and federal agencies with jurisdiction regarding the construction of transmission facilities associated with the project. Permits, approvals, requirements, easements or clearances that have not been obtained include floodplain development permits and road crossing permits that may be required by the counties in which the approved route is located, depending on the location of the transmission line structures, Sharyland said.
In a Dec. 16 notice of application involving the project, the PUCT said that the deadline for intervention in the matter is Jan. 27, 2014.