Arkansas regulators grant approval to Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative for proposed 138-kV line

The Arkansas Public Service Commission has granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN) to Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative to build, operate and maintain an approximately 2.5-mile, 138-kV transmission line that will provide service to a new distribution substation serving Weyerhaeuser NR Company in Dierks, Howard County, Ark.

Rich Mountain is to file a construction report at the conclusion of the project, and nothing in the order is to be construed as finding a value for ratemaking purposes, the APSC added in its Feb. 5 order. In an April 7 order, the APSC directed its secretary to close the docket (Docket No. 15-079-U).

As noted in the February order, Weyerhaeuser is expanding and relocating its operations in Dierks, and will be served entirely by Rich Mountain. The load requirements of Weyerhaeuser are expected to peak at 8 MW to 10 MW in the next two years, the APSC added, noting that Rich Mountain is able to supply only a maximum of 6 MW on a temporary basis from its existing 13.2-kV distribution feeder. In order to provide adequate and reliable service, an expansion of the electrical system in the area is necessary, the APSC said.

According to Rich Mountain, the estimated cost of the transmission facilities is about $1m, and the estimated cost of the Weyerhaeuser Dierks substation is $3m. Improvements will be financed with long-term loans from the Rural Utilities Service, which have been approved, the APSC added.

The proposed facility will connect to American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company’s (SWEPCO) existing Dierks–AECC Lockesburg South 138-kV transmission line, and terminate at the new Weyerhaeuser Dierks substation, which will contain two 12/16/20 MVA 138/13.2-kV transformers.

Construction is planned to be complete in June, the APSC added.

The proposed location was chosen based on placing the proposed facility near the new Weyerhaeuser load. The APSC also said that the transmission line route was chosen as the lowest cost route for Rich Mountain due to the directness of the route. The APSC said that the entire transmission line route and substation site are located entirely on land owned by Weyerhaeuser.

Among other things, the APSC noted that there have been no intervenors in the docket, no objections and no public comments, and added that the construction of the proposed facility is found to be needed and in the public interest.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3235 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.