Arizona regulatory staff calls to extend term of certificate of environmental compatibility for new line

Arizona Corporation Commission staff, in an Oct. 20 proposed commission order, called for the commission to extend the term of a certificate of environmental compatibility (CEC) by five years to April 20, 2022, with respect to the construction of a new approximately 2.7-mile, single-circuit, 115-kV transmission line from the Valencia substation to the existing Central Arizona Project transmission line at the Spreader Tap and expansion at the Valencia substation to add a switchyard.

As noted in the proposed order, the commission in April 2010 issued a decision that approved the CEC to Southwest Transmission Cooperative, Inc., (SWTC).

The CEC approved the construction of three separate projects: a 115-kV transmission line from North Loop to Rattlesnake (the North Loop to Rattlesnake Project); the Sandario 115-kV transmission line tap (the Sandario Project); and the Valencia 115-kV transmission line tap and optical fiber optic ground wire installation project (the Valencia Project).

Staff added in the proposed order that the project need was stated to be support for anticipated population and energy growth projected to occur in areas served by SWTC facilities, particularly those of the Trico Electric Power Cooperative (Trico), as well as to increase the service reliability of SWTC’s system.

The April 2010 decision granted a seven-year term for the CEC, expiring on April 20, 2017.

Staff also said that SWTC’s successor, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) on March 31 filed an application requesting an extension of the CEC term by five years to April 20, 2022, for the completion of the Valencia Project. AEPCO’s filing also requested that the April 2010 order be amended to delete the North Loop to Rattlesnake Project and the Sandario Project.

AEPCO states that load growth and population growth in the Trico territory and in Pima County have not been to the extent anticipated, nor are they expected to grow as previously projected in the foreseeable future, staff added.

Furthermore, AEPCO indicates that the Valencia Project, in conjunction with the anticipated Marana-Thornydale-Saguaro Interconnect, which relies on existing infrastructure, is sufficient to meet anticipated needs, staff said.

As a result, the North Loop to Rattlesnake Project and the Sandario Project are no longer needed to ensure the adequate and reliable supply of energy to the area, staff said.

Staff said that it agrees that delaying construction of the CEC facilities was appropriate and that construction of the North Loop to Rattlesnake Project and Sandario Project is unnecessary and that deletion of those components from the CEC is appropriate.

Staff also said that it believes that the extension of time requested to build the Valencia Project is reasonable, and staff recommends approval of the extension of the CEC term to April 20, 2022 for the Valencia Project.

Staff noted that the CEC expired on April 20, 2017, and thus, to the extent the commission does not similarly extend the terms for the North Loop to Rattlesnake and Sandario projects, AEPCO’s authority to build those two projects expires under the terms of the CEC. Therefore, staff added in the proposed commission order, staff recommends not extending the term to build those two projects.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.