The Arizona Corporation Commission, in a Nov. 7 decision, concluded that it is in the public interest to extend the time limitation contained in an April 2010 decision with respect to the Valencia Project.
Therefore, the commission said, that 2010 decision is “amended to extend the term of the certificate of environmental compatibility [(CEC)] originally issued to Southwest Transmission Cooperative [(SWTC)] and now held by Arizona Electric Power Cooperative [(AEPCO)] by five years to April 20, 2022 with respect to only the construction of the approximately 2.7 mile new single circuit 115 kV transmission line from [the] Valencia substation to the existing Central Arizona Project transmission line at Spreader Tap and extension at [the] Valencia substation to add a switchyard.”
As noted in the Nov. 7 decision, the commission in April 2010 issued a decision approving a CEC to SWTC. The commission 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).
The Nov. 7 decision added 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.
The commission added in its Nov. 7 decision that on March 31, SWTC’s successor, AEPCO 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 decision 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 is it expected to grow as previously projected in the foreseeable future. Further, the commission added, 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.
Consequently, the North Loop to Rattlesnake Project and the Sandario Project are no longer needed to ensure the adequate and reliable energy supply to the area.
The commission added that the Commission Utilities Division Staff reviewed AEPCO’s extension request and filed a staff memorandum on Oct. 23. Per staff’s analysis, staff 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 deletion of those components from the CEC is appropriate.
The commission added that staff 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.
Regarding the request to amend the April 2010 decision to delete the North Loop to Rattlesnake and Sandario projects, staff notes that the CEC expired on April 20, and thus, to the extent the commission does not similarly extend the terms for those two projects, AEPCO’s authority to build those two projects expires under the terms of the CEC, the commission said. Therefore, staff recommends not extending the term to build the North Loop to Rattlesnake and Sandario projects, the commission said.