A public witness hearing is scheduled for Nov. 30 in Beaufort, N.C., for the purpose of receiving public witness testimony regarding Duke Energy Progress’ (DEP) application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity to build about 6.91 miles of new 230-kV transmission line and a substation in Carteret County, N.C., the North Carolina Utilities Commission said on Aug. 9.
As noted in DEP’s Aug. 3 application, the new line would extend west between the company’s existing Havelock-Morehead Wildwood 115-kV North line near the Town of Harlowe and the existing Havelock-Morehead Wildwood 230-kV line near the Town of Newport, both located in Carteret County.
The company said that by summer 2020, an outage of the Havelock terminal of the Havelock-Morehead Wildwood line will cause voltages in the Havelock area to fall below planning criteria. The construction of the new line would mitigate the voltage problem and increase electric capacity and service reliability across the eastern North Carolina region, the company said.
The new line from the proposed Harlowe 230-kV-115-kV substation located north of State Route (SR) 101 in Harlowe to the proposed Newport 230-kV switching station along the Havelock-Morehead Wildwood line near Newport would increase electric capacity for the immediate area and ensure reliable service in the DEP service area in that region, the company said.
The new line would provide benefits through enhanced reliability to the entire region, including residents and businesses of Carteret and Craven counties, the company said, adding that the transmission system serves DEP customers, as well as customers of rural electric cooperatives and municipally owned electric utilities.
The project study area is located in the eastern region of North Carolina between the City of Havelock and the towns of Newport and Harlowe within Carteret and Craven counties, the company said. The study area is generally bound by the Havelock-Morehead Wildwood line and US 70 to the west, SR 101 and the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point to the north, public and private roads to the east, and the Newport River to the south.
The company also said that the Croatan National Forest (CNF), managed by the U.S. Forest Service, bisects the central portion of the study area.
The initial preferred route begins at the proposed Harlowe substation southeast of Harlowe and north of SR 101, the company said, adding that the alignment exits the substation to the west for about 0.35 miles, and then turns southwest for about 0.85 miles, crossing the Harlowe Creek Clubfoot Canal and SR 101.
West of SR 101, the route continues along an increasingly western heading for about 1.13 miles before it arrives at the eastern boundary of the CNF. The route continues west southwest crossing through the CNF for about 1.2 miles, the company added, noting that upon exiting the CNF, the route continues west and parallels the CNF boundary for about 3.17 miles until it meets the Havelock-Morehead Wildwood 230-kV Line northeast of Newport.
From there, the company said, the alignment turns north and parallels the existing overhead transmission line for about 1.56 miles before arriving at the proposed Newport switching station.
After the selection of the preferred route and preparation of the routing and siting report, DEP said that it found that the site for the proposed Harlowe substation had been cleared for timber, which revealed that features regulated under the Clean Water Act are prevalent across the entire site. Any configuration of the proposed substation on that site would result in significant fill within jurisdictional areas, the company said.
Around the same time, DEP received a letter from a significant land holder in the region – and the largest single private property owner impacted by the proposed preferred route – about the possibility of finding a potential substation site on one of his parcels near the preferred route. The company added that it and that land holder were able to identify a mutually agreeable location that appears to minimize impacts to features regulated under the Clean Water Act and minimize impacts to timber production on the land holder’s property, while still continuing to meet the project purpose and need.
Changing the substation location required slightly adjusting the alignment of the preferred route, which shortened the total route length to about 6.91 miles, and further minimized impacts to the human and natural environment, DEP said, adding that no new landowner is impacted with that revision.
The newly proposed Harlowe substation would be located west of SR 101 and eliminate the previously proposed highway crossing as well as the crossing of Harlowe Canal, DEP said.
The revised preferred route begins at the proposed Harlowe substation near Harlowe and southwest of SR 101, DEP said, adding that the alignment exits the substation heading west for about 1.29 miles across private pine plantations before it arrives at the eastern boundary of the CNF.
The route then crosses through the CNF for about 0.95 miles, the company said, noting that upon exiting the CNF, the route continues west and parallels the CNF boundary for about 3.12 miles across active forest plantations, Significant Natural Heritage Areas, and private conservation easements until it meets the Havelock-Morehead Wildwood line north of Newport. In the vicinity of that location, the route crosses an additional 1,310 feet of CNF lands, and from there, the alignment turns north and parallels the existing overhead transmission line for about 1.55 miles before arriving at the proposed Newport switching station, the company said.
Among other things, DEP said that the right of way of the preferred route crosses about 12.06 fewer acres of wetlands, of which 11.93 acres are forested wetlands, and has fewer residential buildings in proximity.