The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas on Sept. 15 approved, consistent with a stipulation, Sharyland Utilities’ November 2015 application to amend the company’s certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to allow it to build and operate a new 138-kV transmission line in Martin and Midland counties, from the existing Tall City substation to the existing Glass substation.
As TransmissionHub reported, Sharyland on June 7 filed with the PUC an unopposed stipulation in relation to the company’s proposed Tall City to Glass 138-kV transmission line.
The new line would connect the existing Tall City substation in Midland County to the existing Glass substation located in Martin County. The total estimated cost for the project ranges from about $12.9m to $13.8m, depending on the route chosen.
The signatories to the stipulation expressed their support of Links 02, 04, 08, 10, 16A, 17M, 18B and 19 – the settlement route – and agreed that the best alternative to the proposed transmission line is that route.
The settlement route is about 13.06 miles long, which is the fourth shortest route of any of the routes originally proposed in the proceeding, the stipulation noted. The settlement route affects six habitable structures.
According to a proposed order that Sharyland filed on June 7 with the PUC, the settlement route has an estimated cost of $14.6m.
According to the stipulation, Links 02, 04, 08, 10 and 19 are previously noticed links while Links 16A, 17M and 18B are modified from the links proposed in the application.
The PUC said in its Sept. 15 order that the project is needed to accommodate significant load growth and to ensure system reliability. The project is the second phase of a larger two-phase project, the PUC said, adding that the first phase, the Glass-to-Sale Ranch 138-kV transmission line has been built and energized.
The Glass-to-Sale Ranch line created a radial feed from the Sale Ranch substation to the Glass substation, the PUC said, noting that the Tall City to Glass project will close the radial connection at the Glass substation with a looped connection from the Tall City substation. The two phases of the larger project are designed to accommodate 90 MW of new load, the PUC said.
Sharyland retained POWER Engineers to prepare an environmental assessment and alternative route analysis for the project, the PUC said, noting that POWER Engineers identified route I as the route that best addresses certain environmental criteria. Sharyland evaluated the 11 alternative routes and identified route D as the route that best address certain criteria, the PUC said.
Among the 11 alternative routes considered, the settlement route is the best alternative weighing certain factors, the PUC said.
Noting that there are no practical alternatives to the project, the PUC noted that the planned expansion of the existing transmission system is the best way to accommodate Sharyland’s projected load growth based on consideration of engineering, efficiency, reliability, costs and benefits.
No parks or recreational areas are crossed by the right of way of the settlement route, and no park or recreational areas are located within 1,000 feet of the centerline of the settlement route, the PUC said. Also, no significant adverse impacts to historical or archaeological sites are expected as a result of the construction of the project along the settlement route. The PUC also said that no significant impacts to wetland resources, ecological resources, endangered and threatened species, or land use are anticipated as a result of project construction.
Among other things, the PUC said that in the event that Sharyland or its contractors encounter any archaeological artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work is to cease immediately in the vicinity of the resource and the discovery is to be reported to the Texas Historical Commission.
Also, Sharyland is to use best management practices to minimize the potential impact to migratory birds and threatened or endangered species. The PUC further stated that Sharyland is to update the reporting of the project on its monthly construction progress reports prior to the start of construction to reflect final estimated cost and schedule.