Texas regulatory staff recommends approval of 138-kV line

Public Utility Commission of Texas staff on Feb. 2 recommended that the commission approve Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative’s (RCEC) application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) in order to build a new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line.

John Poole, an engineering specialist within the commission’s Infrastructure and Reliability Division, presented staff’s recommendations concerning RCEC’s proposal to build the line supported by monopole structures connecting a planned substation to be built about 0.13 miles north and 0.55 miles west of the intersection of County Road (CR) 2715, CR 2716, and CR 2725 near the proposed Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir (LBCR) pump station and one of three alternative proposed tap points along an existing Valley-Paris Oncor 138-kV transmission line in Fannin County, Texas.

RCEC in August 2017, submitted to the commission its application regarding the Lower Bois D’Arc Pump Station 138-kV Transmission Line Project in Fannin County.

As noted in the application, the members of RCEC include the Fannin County Electric Cooperative, Inc., (FCEC).

RCEC said at the time that it proposes to build the transmission line, which would connect a planned substation to be built by FCEC, located on North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) property about 0.13 mile north and 0.55 mile west of the intersection of County Road (CR) 2715, CR 2716, and CR 2725 near the proposed LBCR pump station and related facilities – anticipated to be called the LBCR Pump Station substation – to one of three alternative proposed tap point switch/meter stations – depending on the route selected – located along Oncor’s existing Valley-Paris Switching Station 138-kV transmission line, located about 0.65 mile south of Allen’s Point, Texas – anticipated to be called the LBCR Pump Station Switch.

The point of delivery at the LBCR Pump Station substation is located within the singly certificated service area of FCEC, RCEC said.

RCEC said that it would install new transmission switching equipment at the LBCR Pump Station Switch, the site of which would be about three acres to five acres in size.

RCEC said that the project is needed to supply wholesale power to a delivery point at the new LBCR Pump Station substation to be built by FCEC, which would be used to serve NTMWD’s raw-water pumping station and related facilities associated with NTMWD’s proposed Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir.

RCEC said that it evaluated 12 alternative routes included in the application and selected “Route L” as the route that best complies with certain rules. RCEC noted that Route L, for instance, is the third shortest route – about 6.25 miles; impacts the fewest habitable structures – one – within 300 feet of its centerline; and is the second-least expensive route – about $4.5m.

In his Feb. 2 filing, Poole recommended that the commission order RCEC to build the proposed line on the estimated $4.7m “Route D,” and that the commission include in its order approving the application certain statements in order to mitigate the impact of the proposed project, including that:

  • RCEC is to conduct surveys to identify pipelines that could be affected by the proposed line, if not already completed, and coordinate with pipeline owners in modeling and analyzing potential hazards because of alternating current interference affecting pipelines being paralleled
  • In the event that RCEC or its contractors encounter any archeological 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
  • RCEC is to minimize the amount of flora and fauna disturbed during construction of the line, except to the extent necessary to establish appropriate right of way clearance for the line

Poole said that his recommended route does not differ from the one that RCEC believes best addresses certain requirements, noting that while RCEC initially believed that Route L best addressed those requirements, after discussions between staff and intervenors in the case, RCEC has agreed that Route D reasonably addresses the requirements.

He said that Route D would mitigate many community members’ concerns about the project, noting that that route has only four habitable structures within 300 feet of its centerline, and that none of the route’s length passes over cropland. There are no parks or recreational areas located within 1,000 feet of the centerline of any of the proposed alternative routes, he said. Also, there are two recorded archaeological sites and three cemeteries within 1,000 feet of all of the route centerlines; Route D does not pass within 1,000 feet of any cemetery, he said.

Poole said that all of the proposed alternative routes would result in a negative impact in aesthetic values, some routes more than others, depending on the visibility from homes and public roadways. Route D is the second shortest route, which would help to mitigate those impacts, he said.

Among other things, Poole said that the proposed project is expected to cause only short-term effects to water, soil, and ecological resources during the initial construction phase, adding that Route D has some of the least amount of length crossing woodlands.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3052 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.