Entergy’s (NYSE:ETR) Entergy Texas Inc. (ETI) on Dec. 9 filed with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas a joint proposed notice of approval that approves the company’s September application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for a 230-kV transmission line in Montgomery County, Texas.
ETI noted in its filing that under an Oct. 31 order, which was signed by an administrative law judge, Dec. 9 is the “deadline for ETI to request a hearing or respond to intervenor comments and staff’s recommendation on final disposition or deadline for parties to file a proposed notice of approval, including fact statements, legal conclusions, and ordering paragraphs.”
As noted in the proposed notice of approval, staff on Dec. 2 recommended approval of ETI’s application to build the proposed project on the proposed route.
ETI said that it has worked with staff to develop the joint proposed notice of approval, and that there are no other parties in the docket (Docket No. 46408).
According to the proposed notice of approval, the proposed line, which would be built using steel or concrete monopoles, would connect the proposed Heights substation, which is to be located northeast of the intersection of Farm to Market Road (FM) 1314 and Northgate Lane, to the existing ETI 230-kV transmission line (Line #822). The proposed route for the new line would be about 1.4 miles and would contain two circuits on separate, side-by-side structures separated by 50 feet and built within a single 175-foot-wide right of way (ROW). The proposed route would cross four properties and be within 300 feet of two habitable structures, the filing added.
The filing noted that according to staff, the project’s design has an increased impact to landowners and an increase in costs associated with the design as opposed to building a traditional double-circuit monopole on a narrower ROW to carry both circuits. According to ETI, that increased impact and cost is outweighed by the reliability and maintenance benefits achieved by having separate side-by-side single circuit monopoles.
The estimated cost of the proposed line is about $5m, and the estimated cost for the substation facilities is about $14.5m. The filing also said that the Heights substation project is a planned new ETI distribution point of delivery providing additional load-serving transformer capacity that is necessary to eliminate an anticipated 2019 New Caney Transformer #3 (T-3) overload condition. The project includes the construction of a new 230/34.5-kV substation with looped transmission service, six new 34.5-kV distribution feeders, and with two additional feeders planned for future build out, the filing said.
Load growth within ETI’s New Caney network in southeast Montgomery County is expected to continue over the next 10 to 20 years, and the expected facilities cannot service all of the expected load growth in that network, the filing said.
ETI studied alternatives to the proposed project, including upgrading the capacity on the existing radial transmission lines in the study area, but that would not address reliability and operational issues because it would not create bi-directional, looped feed capability for customers, the filing said.
According to the filing, the proposed project would have minimal impact on aesthetic and community values, as well as on recreational and park areas, and on historical values. The filing further noted that the proposed route is not anticipated to have significant impacts to the area’s natural resources. Staff recommended that, to the maximum extent practicable, ETI avoid adverse environmental impacts to sensitive plant and animal species and their habitats as identified by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Among other things, the proposed notice of approval said that in the event that ETI or its contractors encounter any 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.