A Public Utility Commission of Texas administrative law judge (ALJ), in a Nov. 2 notice of approval, said that AEP Texas Inc.’s application to amend the company’s certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for the construction of a 138-kV transmission line project in Pecos County is approved.
According to the notice, AEP Texas filed the application in July. The proposed line will extend from AEP Texas’ Solstice substation to the Roserock Point of Interconnection to interconnect the RE Roserock, LLC solar farm located in Pecos County, the ALJ added.
The proposed line will be built on single-pole steel structures with the typical structure height being 100 feet in height, the ALJ said, noting that the right of way (ROW) for the project will 100 feet in width.
The project’s costs are estimated to be about $6.1m for the transmission line, and about $1.2m for the proposed Solstice substation termination facilities; the total estimated cost of the project, including the transmission and substation costs, is about $7.4m.
The ALJ also said that the project is estimated to be energized in August 2019.
The project is needed to interconnect the new RE Roserock, LLC solar farm facility to the ERCOT electric grid through AEP Texas’ transmission system facilities, the ALJ said, adding that the solar generation facility will have an output capacity of 157.7 MW net at the point of interconnection.
As reported, AEP Texas has determined that “Route 2” provides the best balance of routing characteristics and best addresses certain requirements, primarily because the route makes the best use of land by paralleling the existing Ft. Stockton to Barrilla Junction 138-kV transmission line for the whole length of the proposed line.
The ALJ said in the notice of approval that Route 2 filed in the CCN application is 4.44 miles long, and located in a rural area of west Texas that is dominated by mostly open shrub land, as well as oil and gas exploration infrastructure.
No significant adverse effects on land use as a result of the project are anticipated, the ALJ said, adding that no known habitat of federally listed or endangered species is crossed by Route 2 or any other of the proposed routes. The project is not expected to adversely impact any threatened or endangered plant or animal species, the ALJ said.
In addition, there are no habitable structures located within 300 feet of Route 2, the ALJ said.
The ALJ said that the approval granted by the notice is limited to a period of seven years from the date that the notice is signed, unless before that time the line is commercially energized.
In the event that AEP Texas or its contractors encounter any artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work is to cease immediately in the vicinity of the resource and the discovery is to be reported to the Texas Historical Commission, the ALJ said.
AEP Texas is to minimize the amount of flora and fauna disturbed during construction of the transmission line, except to the extent necessary to establish appropriate ROW clearance for the transmission line, the ALJ said.
Among other things, the ALJ said that the company is to cooperate with directly affected landowners to implement minor deviations in the approved route to minimize the impact of the line.