Nevada regulatory staff does not oppose Techren’s motion involving solar facility line

The regulatory operations staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on April 17 said that it does not oppose Techren Solar, LLC’s April 10 motion, through which Techren seeks approval to modify the legal description of the transmission line associated with the Techren Solar I and Techren Solar II solar facilities.

As noted in staff’s filing, Techren in April 2012 filed with the commission an initial application for a Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA) permit to construct a photovoltaic (PV) solar-powered electric generation facility. Techren asked the commission to grant it a permit to construct the Techren Boulder City Solar Project, which currently consists of a 300-MW PV generating facility; a substation with 34.5 to 230-kV step-up transformers; about four miles of a 230-kV transmission line to the Nevada Solar One (NSO) substation; an access road; two water pipelines; and associated facilities, to be located in Boulder City, Clark County, Nev.

Techren in April 2013 filed an amended application for the issuance of a UEPA permit to construct that contained, among other things, a list of the permits and approvals the project was required to obtain prior to the commission’s issuance of a permit to construct, staff said.

Techren, in its April 10 motion, said that in its April 2013 amended application, Techren identified the route for the transmission line connecting the Techren solar facility to the NSO substation and a second circuit to continue, in the future, to the McCullough or Eldorado substations.

Staff, in its April 17 filing, noted that the commission in June 2013 issued an order that granted a permit to construct the project, subject to, and conditioned on the completion of, compliances.

Staff also noted that Techren on November 2016 filed an amendment to the amended application (referred to as the second amended application), in which Techren requested the addition of a transmission line to the NSO substation, a new access road, and the addition of two water pipelines to the solar field. That filing also addressed additional environmental evaluations associated with the proposed modifications and updated the permit list that was included in the prior amended application.

Staff added that in addition to project design changes, the filing requested that Techren’s UEPA permit to construct be issued in three separate phases to accommodate Techren’s construction schedule. Staff noted that the commission in February 2017 issued an order granting the second amended application, subject to the completion of certain compliances, including obtaining and filing a copy of required outstanding permits licenses, and approvals needed for each individual phase. For Phases I and II, the commission’s February 2017 order was satisfied, inasmuch as all compliances had been met, and the commission granted Techren’s Phase I and Phase II UEPA permits to construct, staff said. To date, Phase III has not been issued a UEPA permit to construct, since all compliances have not been met and filed with the commission, staff said.

Staff noted that Techren, in its April 10 motion, requested a change to a portion of the legal description of Techren’s generation-transmission line to accommodate another renewable interstate transmission line, the TransWest Express LLC line.

“Since UEPA statutes and regulations do not require a legal description for electric transmission lines, a slight modification to an existing legal description for an electric transmission line does not need to be approved by the commission,” staff added. “Accordingly, the commission may grant the motion or determine that such a motion is not required for an electric transmission line, particularly since the deviation is within the area encompassed by the federal environmental review and the deviation is minor.”

Techren’s April 10 motion

In its April 10 motion, Techren noted that since the time of the filing of its second amendment, in order to accommodate the development of other infrastructure in Boulder City’s Eldorado Valley, Techren has made a minor modification to the route of its transmission line to NSO. The amended application was supported by an environmental assessment conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Techren added.

The double-circuit, 230-kV transmission line will now originate on the west side of the solar facility, instead of to the east, its original location, exit the BLM corridor. To avoid another right of way (ROW), Techren added, the line will divert onto land owned by Boulder City for 1.27 miles, then reenter the BLM corridor, and extend south to a split point. The revised location will not result in any new or additional environmental impacts that were not addressed in the EA, Techren said.

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.