The Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee on Oct. 12 said that at the conclusion of public hearings held on Oct. 3 and 4 in Wickenburg, Ariz., the committee voted 7-0 to grant Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO), as well as its successors and assigns, a certificate of environmental compatibility for construction of a project that involves the APS Bagdad Interconnect 115-kV Transmission Line.
The project consists of the expansion of the existing AEPCO 69-kV Bagdad substation to allow for the installation of a 115/69-kV transformer, a 115-kV circuit breaker, and 115-kV coupling capacitor voltage transformers, as well as the construction of about one mile of 115-kV transmission line and a 115-kV disconnect switch to interconnect the Bagdad substation to the existing APS Prescott-Bagdad 115-kV transmission line.
The purpose of the project is to provide mutual backup power and system reliability for APS electrical loads in the unincorporated Town of Bagdad and AEPCO cooperative member Mohave Electric Cooperative Inc.’s electrical loads west of Bagdad, the committee added. The project would also provide backup power service for small critical loads at a mine, the committee said.
The project will require the placement of about 11 self-weathering steel or wood guyed monopole structures with the exception of the v-switch structure, the committee said, adding that each structure will be placed within an approximately 50-by-50-foot disturbance area. Tangent structures will be directly embedded into the ground and non-tangent angle structures will be guyed, the committee said.
Construction of the 115-kV line will be located solely on property owned by Freeport McMoRan Bagdad, Inc., (FMBI), which is about 1.6 miles west of Bagdad, Ariz., in Yavapai County. The line originates at AEPCO’s Bagdad substation and ties in to the existing 115-kV APS transmission line at structure No. 6, the committee added.
Located entirely within the Bagdad mine, the project will be built within an active mine site and primarily on already disturbed land, the committee said, adding that the landowner, FMBI, participated in the selection of the route to ensure that it was compatible with future mining operations. Existing land uses within the project area are limited to mining-related activities, with the entire area off limits to the public, the committee said.
The certificate is granted upon certain conditions, including that the authorization to build the project is to expire five years from the date that the certificate is approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, with or without modification. Construction of the project is to be complete such that the project is in service within that five-year time frame, the committee added. However, prior to the expiration of that time period, AEPCO may request that the commission extend the time limitation.
Another condition calls for AEPCO to comply with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) guidelines for handling protected animal species, should any be encountered during construction, and is to consult with the AGFD as necessary on other issues concerning wildlife, the committee said.
Among other conditions, the committee said that when the project’s facilities are located parallel to, and within 100 feet of, any existing natural gas or hazardous pipeline, AEPCO is to, for instance, ensure grounding and cathodic protection studies are performed to show that the project’s location parallel to, and within 100 feet of, such pipeline results in no material adverse impacts to the pipeline or to public safety when both the pipeline and the project are in operation.
The committee, among other things, said that the project aids the state and the southwest region in meeting the need for an adequate, economical, and reliable supply of electric power. In addition, the committee said, the conditions placed on the project resolve matters concerning balancing the need for the project with its impact on the environment and ecology of the state arising during the course of the proceedings.