The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), in July 5 comments filed with state regulators, recommended that Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Transmission Services Corporation (TSC) – in relation to its proposed Fayette Power Project 345-kV Bus Tie In – survey the area proposed for disturbance to ensure that no bird nests with eggs or young will be disturbed by operations.
LCRA TSC in June filed with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas an application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity for the proposed project in Fayette County, Texas.
The proposed project is a new 0.26-mile, single-circuit, 345-kV bus tie between the existing FPP substations (Yard #1 and Yard #2) located at the FPP generation facility in Fayette County, the company said. The new bus tie would modify the termination of an existing 345-kV bus tie between those two substations. The company also noted that the proposed project is located on property jointly owned by the Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Austin, adjacent to the existing FPP generating units.
The bus tie associated with the proposed project and an upgrade of the existing bus tie (T405) between the Yard #1 and Yard #2 substations would result in the two yards being connected by two 1,400-foot bus ties instead of one. LCRA TSC also said that it selected single steel pole structures as the recommended structure type for the proposed project due to the space constraints within the project area.
In its July 5 comments, the TPWD said that the Natural Resources Review indicates that the project area contains a high level of onsite development and open maintained grass and forb herbaceous vegetation. While in a highly developed area, there is potential for grass and bare ground areas to support ground-nesting birds, such as the killdeer, and potential impacts may occur during construction activities.
If nests are observed during surveys, a buffer area no less than 25 feet in all directions should remain around the nest until young have fledged, the TPWD added.
The TPWD also said that to prevent electrocution of perching birds, it recommends utilizing avian-safe designs that provide appropriate separation between two energized phases or between an energized phase and ground equipment.
According to the project’s estimated schedule, if approved, right of way and land acquisition would begin and be completed in October; engineering and design would be completed in January 2018; material and equipment procurement would begin this month and be completed in March 2018; construction of the facilities would begin in November and be completed in May 2018; and the facilities would be energized in August 2018.
According to LCRA TSC, the estimated total cost of the transmission facilities would be about $1.2m, and about $3.7m for the substation facilities.