The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a final order signed on Jan. 25, approved Entergy Texas, Inc.’s (ETI) application to amend a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for a proposed 230-kV transmission line in Jefferson County.
An unopposed settlement agreement was executed that resolves all of the issues among the parties to the docket (Docket No. 47003), the commission said, adding that consistent with the agreement, as modified by the order, it approves the application.
As noted in the order, ETI in April 2017 filed the application for the line, which will connect a proposed new Garden substation, located southwest of Central Gardens, to a proposed new Legend substation, located southeast of Port Acres.
The project was proposed to alleviate power flow limitations and low voltages in the Port Arthur area, the commission said.
The proposed facility supports the reliability and adequacy of the interconnected transmission system, the commission said, adding that the Midcontinent ISO (MISO), as part of its transmission expansion planning (MTEP) process, reviewed the project with stakeholders and provided its approval. The project was classified as a baseline reliability project and included in MISO’s Appendix A of the MTEP 2016 study cycle.
The commission added that the project is designed to address projected thermal overloads and under-voltage in compliance with NERC reliability standards, as well as ETI’s local planning criteria. In addition, the project will help to meet forecast transmission needs of the Port Arthur area of ETI’s service territory.
“ETI demonstrated a reasonable need for the proposed project in order to continue to provide adequate and reliable service,” the commission added.
ETI filed 16 alternative routes and had concluded that “route 11” is the route that best addresses certain requirements. The parties have agreed to route 11, which is about 13.11 miles long, the commission added.
The line will be built using concrete or steel monopole structures, the commission said, noting that the estimated cost to build route 11 is about $70.3m, including transmission and substation facilities costs.
Route 11 is one of the least expensive routes proposed by ETI.
The commission also said that there are 60 habitable structures within 300 feet of the centerline of route 11; of those 60 structures, 40 are along existing transmission line ROWs. All of the routes that affected fewer habitable structures were longer and more expensive, the commission said.
The commission noted that ETI will work with landowners to make minor routing modifications and adjust pole placement where reasonable to reduce the effects of the line. ETI will also work with landowners where reasonable to make minor routing adjustments to the line in order to minimize the potential removal of trees, the commission said.
There are no parks or recreational areas within 1,000 feet of route 11, the commission said, adding that the route does not cross any listed or determined-eligible historical or archeological sites.
Discussing the project’s environmental impact, the commission noted that the number of stream, creek, bayou, or river crossings on route 11 is two. The construction, operation, and maintenance of the line is not anticipated to adversely affect surface water or groundwater in the area. The commission added that no significant adverse impacts are anticipated to any aquatic habitats crossed or adjacent to the ROW for route 11. In addition, the commission said that the line is not anticipated to result in any impacts to federally listed endangered or threatened species.
Among other things, the commission said that in the event that ETI or its contractors encounter any artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, then work is to cease immediately in the vicinity of the resource and the discovery is to be reported to the Texas Historical Commission.
Also, ETI is to use best management practices to minimize the potential impact to migratory birds and threatened or endangered species.