An April 9 unopposed stipulation and agreement filed by the City of Garland, Texas, (Garland), d/b/a Garland Power & Light (GP&L), with the Public Utility Commission of Texas calls for the approval of Garland’s application regarding a 138-kV transmission line, and that a transmission line “settlement route,” be approved by the commission.
As noted in the filing, Garland last July filed with the commission the application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for the proposed transmission line in Hunt County that would interconnect the Dent Road substation expansion to the Shelby substation.
Discussions between parties in the proceeding have resulted in the stipulation, which addresses the settlement route consisting of a combination of routing segments that were presented in the application, the filing added. The settlement route agreed to by the signatories consists of “Segments 1R, 2R, 5R, 16a, 15, 13, 12, 22, 38, 39a, 39b, 54, 56, and 58, and has also been referred to as Route F-VAR 2.”
The filing added that commission staff is not a signatory and does not support the agreement, but is unopposed.
The filing noted that the signatories request that the commission enter an order in conformity with a proposed order attached to the filing.
As noted in that proposed order, Garland seeks approval to amend its CCN to include the new single-circuit line on primarily double-circuit-capable steel and/or concrete single-pole structures in Hunt County between Texas Municipal Power Agency’s Shelby substation and GP&L’s expansion of Greenville Electric Utility System’s Dent Road substation.
The project is needed to ensure system reliability in the Greenville, Texas, area.
The proposed order also said that ERCOT performed its own study regarding the project and determined that the Greenville area is vulnerable to islanding and voltage issues on the existing system under certain contingency conditions.
The project is one of five components of the Greenville Area Project evaluated and accepted by ERCOT to address system reliability issues in the Greenville area.
The proposed order also said that the stipulation and settlement route are supported by the applicant, all landowner intervenors in the case, along with the City of Greenville, the Greenville Board of Development and Greenville Economic Development Corporation.
The estimated cost of the settlement route – which is 30,076 feet long – is $7.14m, according to the proposed order.
Most of the study area is rural and devoted to agricultural uses. The proposed order added that while residential and commercial development occurs throughout the study area, it is most heavily concentrated in the eastern portion, particularly in the vicinity of IH-30 and SH 34. The proposed order noted that the landscape has experienced a high degree of alteration due to agricultural uses, residential and commercial development, transportation corridors, and existing electrical transmission and distribution facilities. New residential and commercial developments have broken ground and are under construction or planned in the eastern portion of the study area, the proposed order said.
The proposed order noted that the settlement route does not cross and is not located within 1,000 feet of any park or recreational area, and it does not cross any known cultural resource sites, nor are any such sites within 1,000 feet of the settlement route’s centerline. Aesthetic impacts of the proposed line have been minimized to the extent possible. The proposed order also said that with respect to overall environmental integrity, the project would have minimal adverse impacts to soil, water, and ecological resources.
In addition, the proposed order said that while each of the 17 alternative routes identified in the application has the potential to impact threatened and endangered species, that potential is limited. No federally determined critical habitat has been designated in the study area for endangered or threatened species, so the project would not impact critical habitat, the proposed order said.
Some federally protected avian species may migrate through the study area, including the piping plover. The proposed order added that Garland has stated that it would comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, and the commission’s ordering language, including appropriate consultation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Among other things, the proposed order said that in the event that Garland 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.