Stipulation filed in Texas calls for approval of Welch 115-kV project

Lyntegar Electric Cooperative and Public Utility Commission of Texas staff, among others, have filed an unopposed stipulation, calling for the commission to allow construction and operation of the proposed Welch 115-kV Transmission Line Project in Gaines and Dawson counties in Texas.

According to the stipulation, Lyntegar filed its application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity for the project last December. Lyntegar plans to build a new, single-circuit, 115-kV radial transmission line, with distribution underbuild on single-pole steel or concrete structures to be tapped at the existing SPS Diamondback substation.

As noted in the stipulation, the parties to the unopposed stipulation, dated June 1, also include such intervenors as Oxy USA Inc., Occidental Permian Ltd., and Southwestern Public Service (SPS). Intervenor Oncor Electric Delivery Company is not a signatory to the stipulation, but it does not oppose it or approval of the application as proposed, the stipulation noted.

The stipulation said that the proposed line consists of two parts, with one segment of the line to extend from the Diamondback substation to the east/northeast about 11.82 miles to the proposed Welch substation near the town of Welch in Dawson County (referred to as the Welch segment). Lyntegar also proposes to build a tap in the Welch Segment and run a radial transmission line south about 7.76 miles to the proposed Thunderhead substation being built by Lyntegar to serve U.S. Silica Company (referred to as the U.S. Silica segment).

The stipulation also noted that the proposed project is to be built and operated entirely within the Southwest Power Pool, and as such, Lyntegar would not seek to include any portion of the project’s cost in its ERCOT transmission cost of service. U.S. Silica has agreed to pay all costs relating to the U.S. Silica segment.

The project is needed for reliability and load growth due to increases in oil exploration and production; irrigation water pumping; as well as residential, farming, and ranching. The stipulation added that the proposed Welch substation is forecast to peak at 5.78 MW in 2018, and 7.06 MW by 2022, but the 5 MW capacity available to Lyntegar in the area is from an Oncor distribution line that is at or near its maximum capacity during peak periods.

In addition, U.S. Silica has requested service for a 9-MW load in Lyntegar’s single certificated service territory, with a requested in-service date of August. The Thunderhead substation is proposed to address the additional U.S. Silica load, the stipulation added, noting that SPS performed a system capacity study and approved the addition of the U.S. Silica load.

By 2023, the total load in the area served by the proposed Welch and Thunderhead substations is expected to be in the range of 16.34 MW, the stipulation said, adding that without the proposed transmission line, load additions are expected to cause significant deterioration in voltage.

To settle all outstanding issues in the docket (PUC Docket No. 47838), the parties stipulate to, among other things:

  • The commission should amend Lyntegar’s certificate to allow construction and operation of the proposed line. The parties agree that the settlement is in the public interest and that the “Stipulation Route,” also referred to as “Modified Route 4,” meets certain criteria. Modified Route 4 is “Route 4” as proposed in Lyntegar’s application, with minor modifications to address landowner concerns. For instance, “Link 1a, after exiting the Diamondback substation, will turn east and travel across County Road 143 to its interconnection with Link 10, which will turn north to parallel County Road 143 along the east side of the road, rather paralleling along the west side of County Road 143 as originally proposed.” The stipulation route is about 19.54 miles long
  • The parties request that the commission adopt an order consistent with the terms of the stipulation and a proposed order that is attached to the stipulation
  • If the commission materially changes the terms of the stipulation or does not adopt an order consistent with the terms of the stipulation, then the parties will have the right to withdraw from the stipulation and assume any position, not inconsistent with any other agreements between the parties, that they deem appropriate with respect to any issue in the docket

As TransmissionHub reported, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in a Feb. 23 filing submitted to the commission, said that it recommends that the commission select a route for the project that would minimize adverse impacts to natural resources, such as Route 4.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.