Xcel Energy’s (NYSE:XEL) Public Service Company of Colorado recently filed a motion with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission requesting that the commission treat its application regarding an approximately 25-mile transmission line project as unopposed, and to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for the project.
As noted in the motion, the company in March filed its application for a CPCN for the Northern Greeley Area Transmission Plan Project.
According to the application, as proposed, the project would consist of these primary components:
- The new Ault-Husky 230-kV transmission line, which would be built from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) Ault substation to a new Public Service Husky substation. Husky is expected to be located near the existing Public Service 44-kV Ault substation. The transmission line would be about seven miles long, and built double-circuit 230-kV capable. Only one circuit would initially be installed and operated at 230 kV
- The new Husky substation that would replace the Public Service Ault 44-kV substation, which would be decommissioned. The substation would include 230-kV and 115-kV transmission equipment, including a 230/115-kV, 280 MVA autotransformer and line termination equipment. The substation would also be built to accommodate a 115/12.47-kV, 50 MVA distribution transformer to allow for the existing distribution lines in the area to be interconnected at Husky and served by the 115-kV system. Adequate space would be maintained for the future installation of two additional distribution transformers
- The new Husky-Graham Creek 115-kV line, which would be about seven miles long, and be built double-circuit 230-kV capable. Only one circuit would initially be installed and operated at 115 kV
- The new Graham Creek substation, which would replace the Public Service Eaton 44-kV substation, which would be decommissioned. The substation would include 115-kV transmission equipment; space would be left for future installation of two additional transformers. The substation would be built to accommodate distribution transformers to allow for the existing distribution lines in the area to be interconnected at Graham Creek and served by the 115-kV system
- The new Graham Creek-Cloverly 115-kV line, which would be about 11 miles, and be built double-circuit 230-kV capable. Only one circuit would initially be installed and operated at 115 kV. Eight miles of the line would be built double-circuit 230-kV capable, and the remaining three miles are already built to be 115-kV capable
- Modifications to the Cloverly substation, which Public Service built in 2016, adjacent to the existing Pleasant Valley substation, to interconnect a new customer retail load that was too large to be served by the 44-kV system from Pleasant Valley. For the Northern Greeley Project, the Cloverly substation would be expanded in order to terminate the new line from Graham Creek, and to allow for future load interconnection requests. The Cloverly expansion would also accommodate new distribution transformers to allow for the existing distribution lines that are presently connected at Pleasant Valley to be interconnected at Cloverly and served by the 115-kV system. That would include a 115/12.47-kV, 50 MVA transformer, leaving room for future installation of two additional transformers. Once the project is in place, the Cloverly substation would replace the Pleasant Valley substation, which would be decommissioned
The company added in its application that the project would expand the company’s backbone transmission from the area around Greeley in northeast Colorado and ultimately to the metro Denver area, as well as connect with nearby transmission planned by other load-serving providers, including Tri-State Generation and Transmission.
The company noted that the project would satisfy a current need to increase the reliability and load serving capacity of the existing 44-kV transmission system in and around Greeley, and would address the need for additional future capacity for expected growth in a region where there is a substantial possibility that the load will increase beyond the current 44-kV system’s capacity as early as 2018.
Among other things, the company said that it estimates that construction of the project – which is expected to be in service in 2020 – would cost about $65m.
In its June 20 motion, the company noted that the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) in March filed its notice of intervention and requested a hearing. Regulatory staff in April filed its notice of intervention, stating that it did not oppose the application, the company said, adding that no other parties filed to intervene by right or permission.
In an interim decision mailed on May 11, an administrative law judge (ALJ) set a prehearing conference and encouraged the parties to confer and establish a proposed procedural schedule, the company said. In compliance with that order, the company conferred with the OCC and staff and on May 19 filed a joint motion to vacate the prehearing conference, for approval of a proposed procedural schedule, and for waiver of the response time. They also proposed deadlines to answer and rebuttal testimony and stipulation, as well as an evidentiary hearing for Aug. 30, the company said, adding that the ALJ granted the joint motion in an interim decision that was mailed on May 23.
According to the company, the OCC on June 16 filed a notice of withdrawal of intervention, stating that after reviewing the company’s responses to its discovery requests, it no longer opposed the project as proposed in the application, and withdrew its request for hearing.
The company also said that staff on June 19 filed a notice of withdrawal of intervention, stating that it intervened only because the OCC requested a hearing – after the OCC’s withdrawal of its hearing request, staff no longer needed to participate in the proceeding.
Given that the only two intervenors in the proceeding – the OCC and staff – have withdrawn their interventions of right, the application is now uncontested and no party opposes the project as proposed, the company said. Furthermore, since the OCC has withdrawn its request for a hearing, there is no need to conduct a hearing in this matter or to expand the record, the company said. As such, the company said that it requests that the commission vacate the remaining procedural schedule, including the hearing that is scheduled for Aug. 30.