The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a June 29 final order, approved an application filed in July 2017 by the City of Garland d/b/a Garland Power & Light (Garland) involving a new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line in Hunt County.
As noted in the order, Garland filed the application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to design and build the line on double-circuit-capable steel or concrete monopoles.
“The commission amends Garland’s CCN number 30063 to include the proposed transmission line using the settlement route,” the commission said.
The line will connect Texas Municipal Power Agency’s Shelby substation to Greenville Electric Utility System’s Dent Road substation, which Garland is expanding. Garland will own and operate the expanded portion of the substation, where the line will tie into, the order added. The line and Garland’s expansion of the Dent Road substation are together referred to in the order as the project.
The order also said that the majority of the study area is currently rural and devoted to agricultural uses. 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.
The order added that agricultural uses, residential, and commercial development, transportation corridors, as well as existing electrical transmission and distribution facilities have altered the landscape to a high degree. New residential and commercial developments have broken ground and are under construction or planned in the eastern portion of the study area, the order said.
The project is needed to ensure system reliability in the Greenville area, the order said, noting that load growth has averaged between 1% to 2% per year in that area and is expected to continue growing at that rate over the next several years. Garland in late 2014 performed an analysis of the area that identified certain reliability concerns and concluded that additional points of connection were needed into the Greenville load pocket.
The order added that ERCOT analyzed the area and determined that the area is vulnerable to islanding and voltage issues on the existing system under certain contingency conditions. ERCOT accepted the project to address system reliability in the Greenville area and designated it as a Tier 2 transmission project, the order noted.
As TransmissionHub reported, an April 9 unopposed stipulation and agreement filed with the commission by Garland called 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 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.”
According to a June 5 proposed order filed with the commission by Irene Montelongo, Director, Docket Management, 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 June 29 commission order noted that the project will not result in the disruption or preemption of any recreational activities but will have some temporary or permanent impact on visual aesthetics. 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 order said, adding that the settlement route’s right of way (ROW) traverses areas of high potential for containing an archaeological or historical site for 27,311 feet.
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 order added that the state-listed endangered or threatened aquatic species that might be found in the study area include the Louisiana pigtoe, Texas heelsplitter, and alligator snapping turtle. Overall, the order said, the project should not adversely affect those species or any other endangered or threatened aquatic species.
No significant impacts to wetland resources, ecological resources, endangered and threatened species, or land use are anticipated as a result of project construction, the order noted.
Among other things, the order noted 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, the order noted that in the event that Garland encounters any archaeological artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, then work is to cease immediately in the vicinity of the resource and Garland is to report the discovery to the Texas Historical Commission.