Texas regulators approve transfer of about 38.9 miles of 345-kV line to Garland

The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a Sept. 17 order, approved the transfer of about 38.9 miles of the 67.8-mile Limestone-to-Gibbons Creek transmission line, beginning at the Gibbons Creek substation in Grimes County and extending to dead-end structure 39/7 in Leon County, from Cross Texas Transmission, LLC to the City of Garland.

As noted in the order, ERCOT in April 2014 endorsed the need for the Houston Import Project, which included the Limestone-to-Gibbons Creek 345-kV double-circuit transmission line. CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC and Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) each own an endpoint of the Houston Import Project, the commission said in its order, adding that TMPA delegated its responsibility for new transmission facilities to Garland, a member city of TMPA.

The other components of the Houston Import Project were construction of a new 345-kV Gibbons Creek-to-Zenith line, upgrades to the existing Limestone, Gibbons Creek, and Zenith substations, as well as the upgrade of the existing 345-kV T.H. Wharton-to-Addicks line.

Garland and Cross Texas presented a proposal to ERCOT in summer 2013 identifying a reliability need to improve the import capacity into the Houston region, the commission added, noting that CenterPoint and Lone Star Transmission, LLC also presented proposals to ERCOT.

ERCOT designated Cross Texas, Garland, and CenterPoint as co-providers of the recommended 345-kV transmission lines. The commission added that when the designees could not reach an agreement regarding what portions of the new lines each would build, ERCOT determined their respective responsibility. ERCOT designated Cross Texas and Garland to build the Limestone-to-Gibbons Creek 345-kV transmission line, including the Gibbons Creek substation upgrades, and designated CenterPoint to build the remaining facilities included in the Houston Import Project, the commission said. CenterPoint appealed ERCOT’s decision to the commission, which denied the appeal.

The commission added that while municipalities in 2014 were not required to obtain a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN), Garland committed to the commission that it would join with an entity required to obtain a CCN if Garland owned and operated transmission lines in ERCOT outside of Garland’s traditional service area. Because of the commitment, Garland executed an agreement with Cross Texas to jointly develop the Houston Import Project transmission facilities and later apportion their respective interests, the commission said.

Cross Texas in January 2016 secured commission approval to build the 67.8-mile Limestone-to-Gibbons Creek 345-kV line. In the instant proceeding, the commission added, Cross Texas and Garland seek to apportion their respective interests in the Limestone-to-Gibbons Creek transmission line.

The commission noted that Cross Texas built the line; Garland paid for a portion of the line throughout the construction; Cross Texas energized the line in April; and Cross Texas seeks to transfer 38.93 miles of the line to Garland. The portion requested for transfer begins at the Gibbons Creek substation in Grimes County and terminates at dead-end structure 39/7 in Leon County, the commission said.

Among other things, the commission said that Garland has demonstrated that it has the ability to provide adequate service upon the transfer of the associated CCN rights.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 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.