The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC), in an Aug. 1 order, issued to Duke Energy Progress (DEP) a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity to build about 350 feet of new 230-kV transmission line in Bladen County, N.C.
As noted in the order, DEP in June prefiled with the Public Staff an application for a certificate to build the new transmission tap line – about 380 feet in length – and a 230-kV breaker station to serve a new 50-MW solar photovoltaic electric generating facility to be built by Cypress Creek Solar (CCS).
Bladen Solar, LLC, an affiliate of CCS, was issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build the generating facility by order issued June 30, 2015, and amended Aug. 16, 2016, the NCUC said.
The prefiled application stated that the proposed tap line will connect the new solar facility to DEP’s existing Cumberland to Delco 230-kV transmission line, the NCUC said, adding that CCS will build a new 230-kV/25-kV substation that will be placed adjacent to the DEP breaker station.
Included in the prefiled application was a motion for waiver of certain notice and hearing requirements, the NCUC said, adding that DEP simultaneously filed notice with the NCUC of its intent to seek waiver of the notice and hearing requirements for its tap line construction project.
DEP said that it will build the tap line on property for which it has purchased the right of way from the property owner, and that the property owner does not object to a waiver of the hearing and notice requirements, the NCUC said.
DEP in July formally filed the application for a certificate and motion for waiver of notice and hearing, the NCUC said, adding that the application amended the length of the line to about 350 feet.
According to that application, the total estimated project costs for the line is about $1.2m.
Discussing the project’s environmental impact, DEP said that the breaker station and the line location was included as part of the overall natural resource investigation conducted by CCS for the entire solar farm project and additional investigations for potential switch locations by DEP. The breaker station is located in an open fallow field, while the line will cross a previously “clearcut area,” which the company said it will treat as potential wetland and will require matting for construction.
No rare, threatened, or endangered species listed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected species list were observed, and no potentially suitable habitat was identified within the limits of the proposed DEP facilities, the company said.
Noting that it is authorized to waive the notice and hearing requirements when it finds that the owners of the land to be crossed by the proposed line do not object to the waiver, for instance, the NCUC said in its order that the conditions for a waiver of notice and hearing have been met. In addition, the Public Staff has recommended that the NCUC grant the motion for waiver and issue the requested certificate, the NCUC said.