The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a May 11 order, approved the application filed last August by Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for a new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line within Fannin County, as modified by an executed agreement that resolves all of the issues between the parties to the proceeding (PUC Docket No. 47448).
As noted in the order, the line will be between a planned substation to be built by Rayburn’s member, Fannin County Electric Cooperative, and a new tap point station, located on Oncor Electric Delivery Company’s existing Valley-Paris 138-kV transmission line.
Rayburn filed the unanimous agreement resolving all issues between the parties last December, the commission said.
Describing the project, the commission noted that Rayburn will own, operate, and maintain all of the transmission line facilities and the new switching station facilities. Also, Rayburn will use single-pole structures as the preferred structure type for the project, the commission said, adding that the single-pole transmission facilities will require easements between 80 feet and 130 feet wide.
The project will supply wholesale power to a delivery point at the new Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir to be built by Fannin that will be used to serve the North Texas Municipal Water District’s (North Texas MWD) raw-water pumping station and related facilities associated with North Texas MWD’s proposed reservoir, which is needed to ensure that North Texas MWD has an additional reliable water supply to meet its near-term needs through 2025, as well as to provide for a portion of its projected long-term water needs through 2060.
Rayburn is the wholesale power provider for Fannin, the commission added.
The North Texas MWD pump station will be located in the singly certificated service area of Fannin County Electric. The commission also said that the pump station requires single retail electric service at 25 kV and will include pumps and other loads with a projected total load capacity of 30 MW by 2035, with service anticipated to begin by September 2020.
A new transmission line connecting the new reservoir substation to a nearby existing transmission line is the most cost-effective solution to reliably and safely serve the large, concentrated load requirements of the North Texas MWD pump station, the commission said.
The commission said that the agreed route best moderates the impact of the project and best meets the commission’s routing criteria because it, for instance:
- Is the third least expensive route with an estimated cost of about $4.7m
- Is the second shortest route at 6.20 miles
- Has the sixth fewest number of habitable structures within 300 feet of the right of way (ROW) centerline, with four
- Parallels North Texas MWD’s proposed water pipeline for the second longest distance at 3.36 miles
- Affects the last number of stream crossings
- Does not cross potential wetlands
- Crosses predominantly agricultural land devoted to crops and grazing
The switching station needed to connect the agreed route to the Valley-Paris 138-kV transmission line is estimated to cost $3.5m, the commission noted.
There were no parks or recreational areas identified within 1,000 feet of the agreed route, the commission said.
Among other things, the commission noted that there are no threatened or endangered plant species listed within Fannin County. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the interior least tern as an endangered species in the county, as well as the piping plover and red knot as threatened species in the county. However, the commission added, there are no known records of state or federally listed endangered or threatened species within the study area for the project, according to a review of the Texas Natural Diversity Database.
The commission said that the authority granted by the order is limited to a period of seven years from the date that the order is signed unless, before then, the line is commercially energized.
In the event that Rayburn encounters 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, the commission said.