Brazos Electric, AEP Texas seek approval in Texas for proposed 138-kV line

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative and American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Texas Inc., on Nov. 14 filed a joint application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to amend their certificates of convenience and necessity for the Brazos Electric Gyp to AEP Texas Benjamin 138-kV Transmission Line in King and Knox counties in Texas.

The proposed project, which would be designed, built, and operated as a single-circuit, 138-kV line, would begin at the new Brazos Electric Gyp substation, to be built adjacent to an existing Brazos Electric 138-kV transmission line in southeastern King County about 12 miles to 13.5 miles west of Knox City, Texas, depending on the final location of the station. The companies added that from the Brazos Electric Gyp substation, the project would head generally to the northeast to the AEP Texas Benjamin substation, located on U.S. Highway 82, west of the City of Benjamin in Knox County.

Brazos Electric would own the southwestern half of the new line connected to the Gyp substation, and AEP Texas would own the northeastern half of the new line connected to the Benjamin substation. Upon final approval of a route, the companies added, the mid-point of the line would be determined and that would be change of ownership point.

The Brazos Electric portion of the project would be financed through the USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) loan funds, while the AEP Texas portion would be financed through a combination of debt and equity.

The companies also noted the need for the proposed project, stating that the area north of the City of Aspermont is currently served by Brazos Electric 69-kV transmission lines with AEP Texas 138-kV sources in the Aspermont and East Munday substations. In addition to the communities in that area, the load is primarily related to oil field pumping and is forecast to increase in the next several years. The companies added that studies have shown that adequate voltage cannot be maintained during an outage of a 138/69-kV autotransformer in either Aspermont or East Munday, or the respective Brazos Electric 69-kV transmission line when another system component in the area is out of service (N-1-1). The electrical system is intended to be operated N-1 secure, making maintenance in the area problematic, the companies said, adding that a maintenance outage of any of those system components would result in the need for load shedding so that N-1 security can be maintained.

The companies added that the typical Brazos Electric structures would range in height between 80 feet to 100 feet above grade, while typical AEP Texas structures would range in height between 70 feet to 100 feet above grade.

The miles of right of way (ROW) for all 16 alternative routes filed by the companies ranges from about 19.23 miles for “Route H,” to about 24.58 miles for Route D, the companies said, noting that the number of miles of circuit is the same as the number of miles of ROW. The companies also said that the typical ROW is 100 feet wide.

The study area is located in the North Central Plains region and is characterized by questas or parallel low north-south ridges, the companies said, noting that the study area is primarily rural with residential development concentrated in the City of Benjamin. The predominant land use within the study area is rangeland and pastureland.

POWER Engineers prepared an environmental assessment and routing study for the project, the companies added, noting that the consensus opinion of POWER Engineers evaluators was to recommend “Route N” as the route that best addresses certain requirements from an environmental and land use perspective

The companies said that they determined that that route provides the best balance of routing characteristics and best addresses certain requirements.

According to the filing, Route N has an estimated total cost of about $21.6m, of which about $10.8m would be the estimated cost for Brazos Electric, and about $10.8m would be the estimated cost for AEP Texas.

Among other things, the companies said that according to the estimated schedule, ROW and land acquisition would begin in December 2018 and be completed in March 2019; engineering and design would begin in October 2018 and be completed in March 2019; material and equipment procurement would begin in November 2018 and be completed in April 2019; construction of the facilities would begin in March 2019 and be completed in November 2019, which would also be when the facilities would be energized.

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.