Proposed order in Texas calls for approval of 138-kV line in Hunt County

A June 5 proposed order filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas by Irene Montelongo, Director, Docket Management, calls for the commission to approve – as modified by an agreement – the City of Garland’s (Texas), d/b/a Garland Power & Light, July 2017 application involving the Dent Road to Shelby 138-kV transmission line in Hunt County, Texas.

As noted in the filing, the proceeding was referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings last September. The docket was subsequently returned to the commission, which will consider the docket at an open meeting scheduled for June 28. The filing added that parties are to file corrections or exceptions to the proposed order by June 20.

According to the proposed order, the application sought to amend Garland’s certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to design and build the new, single-circuit line on double-circuit-capable steel or concrete monopoles in Hunt County.

The line would connect Texas Municipal Power Agency’s Shelby substation to Greenville Electric Utility System’s Dent Road substation, which is being expanded by Garland. The expanded portion of the substation, where the proposed line would tie into, will be owned and operated by Garland, the proposed order added.

The proposed line and Garland’s expansion of the Dent Road substation are together referred to in the proposed order as the project.

The majority of the study area for the project is rural and devoted to agricultural uses. The proposed order also said while residential and commercial development occurs throughout the study area, it is most heavily concentrated in the eastern portion, particularly in the vicinity of the intersection of Interstate 30 and Texas 34.

Discussing the need for the project, the proposed order noted that load growth has averaged between 1% and 2% per year in the Greenville area and is expected to continue growing at that rate over the next several years. ERCOT analyzed that area and determined that the area is vulnerable to islanding, as well as voltage issues on the existing system, under certain contingency conditions.

As TransmissionHub reported, the April 9 unopposed stipulation and agreement filed with the commission by Garland calls for the approval of Garland’s application, and that the estimated $7.14m transmission line “settlement route,” be approved by the commission.

As noted in that filing, 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 settlement route agreed to by the signatories is 30,076 feet long, 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.

According to the June 5 proposed order, the agreement and settlement route are supported by all landowner intervenors in the case, along with the City of Greenville, the Greenville Board of Development, the Greenville Economic Development Corporation, and Garland.

The settlement route does not cross, and is not located within 1,000 feet of, any park or recreational area, the proposed order said. Also, the settlement route does not cross any site with cultural resources, nor are any such sites within 1,000 feet of the settlement route’s centerline.

The proposed order also noted that Burns & McDonnell analyzed potential impacts to physiography, geology, soils, water resources, ecology, and land use within the project study area. Regarding overall environmental integrity, the project would have minimal adverse impacts to soil, water, and ecological resources, the proposed order said.

Each of the 17 routes identified in the application has the potential to affect threatened and endangered species, but that potential is limited because no federally listed endangered or threatened plants species have been recorded in Hunt County, the proposed order said. The state-listed threatened species that might be found in the study area include the Louisiana pigtoe, Texas heelsplitter, and the alligator snapping turtle. The proposed order added that overall, the project should not adversely affect those species or any other endangered or threatened aquatic species.

Some federally protected avian species may migrate through the study area, including the whooping crane, piping plover, and other bird species that receive protection under provisions of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, such as the bald eagle, the proposed order noted, adding that the normal flying altitudes of most migrant species are greater than the heights of the proposed transmission structures.

No significant impacts to wetland resources, ecological resources, endangered and threatened species, or land use are anticipated as a result of project construction, the proposed order said.

Among other things, the proposed order said that the commission limits the authority granted by the order to a period of seven years from the date the order is signed unless, before that time, the line is commercially energized.
Also, in the event that Garland 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 Garland is to report the discovery to the Texas Historical Commission, the proposed order said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3054 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.