Notice of approval: Texas regulators approve TUCO to Hale Wind 230-kV line

The Public Utility Commission of Texas amends Southwestern Public Service’s (SPS) certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for the construction and operation of the TUCO to Hale Wind 230-kV transmission line along the proposed route, according to a notice of approval signed on Sept. 19 by Irene Montelongo, director, Docket Management.

According to the notice, SPS in May filed an application to amend its CCN to build the line in Hale County to connect the existing TUCO substation and the new Hale Wind collection substation, which will serve a 478-MW wind generation plant and related facilities – referred to as the Hale Wind project. The 230-kV line will interconnect the Hale Wind collection substation to the SPS transmission system, the notice said.

The line was identified by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) as a requirement of a Generator Interconnection Agreement (GIA) between the SPP, Hale Wind Energy, LLC, a wind energy developer and subsidiary of ESI Energy, LLC – a subsidiary of NextEra Resources, LLC – and SPS. The Hale Wind project is the subject of that GIA, the notice said.

ESI Energy and SPS this year executed a purchase and sale agreement for the Hale Wind project and closed the transaction in June. As of the closing, the notice added, all agreements associated with the Hale Wind project were assigned to SPS or Hale Petersburg Wind LLC, an entity in which SPS now has 100% equity interest.

The commission approved SPS’ application for a generation CCN for the Hale Wind project in another docket, Docket No. 46936. The transmission line is required to interconnect the generation output of the Hale Wind project to the SPS transmission system, the notice added.

SPS, in its application, proposed one route, which is about 14.59 miles long, the notice said, adding that SPS proposed a single route because, for instance, all landowners directly affected by the line provided written agreement to the proposed route.

The notice said that SPS will build the line utilizing primarily single-circuit, self-supporting, single-pole concrete structures within new rights of way (ROWs). SPS will build about 0.15 mile of the line underground because building above ground would require the crossing of existing transmission facilities consisting of five circuits on three sets of structures, the notice said. SPS decided that the adjustments necessary for those overhead crossings with single-pole structures were not economically feasible, the notice said.

The 230-kV line will extend generally north and east, beginning at the existing TUCO substation, which is located about 0.8 mile southeast from the intersection of Interstate 27 and farm-to-market (FM) 54, and terminating at the new Hale Wind collection substation, which will be located about 1.7 miles northeast of the intersection of FM 400 and County Road 275.

The notice also said that the project’s estimated total cost is about $9.4m, consisting of about $9.3m for transmission facilities and $124,174 for substation facilities.

The proposed route will have minimal impact on community values, the notice said, adding that the route parallels existing transmission line right of way (ROW), for instance, for 7.46 miles, as well as other compatible existing ROW, excluding pipelines, for 2.52 miles. The line will have no adverse impact on park and recreational areas, and it will have minimal impact on aesthetic values, the notice said. Additionally, no impacts to federally or state-listed threatened or endangered species are anticipated, the notice said, adding that SPS will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should any federally listed species be observed during construction.

Among other things, the notice said that in the event SPS or its contractors encounter any archaeological artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work must cease immediately in the vicinity of the artifact or resource and the discovery must be reported to the Texas Historic Commission.

Also, the notice said that the commission limits the granted authority to a period of seven years from the date the notice is signed unless the line is commercially energized before that time.

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.