The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas approves Southwestern Public Service’s (SPS) September application to amend a certificate of convenience and necessity for a proposed 115-kV transmission line within Yoakum County, Texas, according to a Dec. 14 notice of approval signed by an administrative law judge (ALJ).
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, the ALJ said.
According to the notice, the existing Mustang and Shell CO2 substations will be upgraded for the proposed line; the Mustang substation will have a fifth 115-kV breaker and a half bay added to the south of the 115-kV bus for the new 115-kV line, while the Shell CO2 substation will be reconfigured to a ring bus configuration with transformers tapped off the main 115-kV bus.
The line will begin at the Mustang substation, located about 0.68 mile northeast of the intersection of County Road 390 and County Road 355, about five miles east of Denver City in Yoakum County. The ALJ added that the line will terminate at the Shell CO2 substation, located about 0.28 mile north-northeast of the intersection of FM 1939 and State Highway 214 and 2.5 miles north of Denver City in Yoakum County.
The route of the line will be about nine miles long, the ALJ said, noting that the line will be built utilizing primarily single-circuit, self-supporting, single-pole steel structures within new right of way (ROW). The line will be built with double-circuit capability for the first approximately 3,300 feet, west and south of the Mustang substation in preparation for future development, the ALJ said.
The total estimated cost of the route is about $20.2m, comprised of about $11m in substation costs, and about $9.3m in transmission costs, the ALJ said.
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) identified the project as needed for reliability to address the overload issues of the Denver City-Mustang Substation 115-kV Circuit #1 transmission line, which could occur during the outage of the Denver City-Mustang Substation 115-kV Circuit #2 transmission line, the ALJ said.
SPS demonstrated a reasonable need for the project in order to continue to provide adequate and reliable service, the ALJ said, adding that the need for the project is not disputed by the parties to the proceeding.
The ALJ noted that there are 15 habitable structures located within 300 feet of the proposed ROW centerline, and that the route parallels existing compatible corridors and apparent property boundaries – excluding pipelines – for 69.5% of its length.
The proposed route will have minimal impact on aesthetic values, the ALJ said.
Noting that there are no recreational or park areas crossed or within 1,000 feet of the proposed centerline, the ALJ said that the line will have no adverse impact on such areas.
Similarly, the ALJ said that there are no recorded archaeological or historical sites crossed by the route, which does cross 2.06 miles of high archaeological site potential.
The ALJ said that the line will cause only minimal and short-term impacts to soil, water, and ecological resources. In addition, the line will have minimal impact on prime farmland and will be limited to the physical occupation of small areas at the base of support structures. The ALJ also said that the route will cross one stream, no rivers, and have no miles of ROW across National Wetland Inventory wetlands and playa lakes.
The line will have no significant impact on local wildlife, and no significant impacts to unique, sensitive, or protected wildlife habitats are anticipated, the ALJ said.
Among other things, the ALJ said that in the event that SPS or its contractors encounter any archaeological 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.
Also, SPS is to minimize the amount of flora and fauna disturbed during construction of the line, except to the extent necessary to establish appropriate ROW clearance for the line.
The ALJ further noted that SPS is to use best management practices to minimize the potential impact to migratory birds and threatened or endangered species.
In addition, the ALJ said that SPS is to update the reporting of the project on monthly construction progress reports prior to the start of construction to reflect the final estimated cost and schedule.