STEC, Texas regulatory staff, others file stipulation calling for approval of new route for 138-kV line

South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC) on Oct. 18 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas a stipulation concerning STEC’s proposed Palmas to East Rio Hondo 138-kV Transmission Line Project in Cameron County, Texas, that calls for approval of a new route – Modified Route H – for the project.

As noted in the stipulation, STEC in July filed its application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to authorize construction of the double-circuit-capable 138-kV transmission line that would connect the new proposed Palmas switching station to STEC’s existing East Rio Hondo substation, all within Cameron County.

STEC identified in its application eight alternative routes, comprised of 31 segments, as possible routes for the proposed transmission line, and it identified Route H as the route that best addresses certain requirements.

The stipulation also noted that the parties – which include STEC, commission staff, and Palmas Wind, LLC – engaged in settlement discussions in order to determine if an agreed resolution could be obtained that would avoid the necessity for a public hearing on STEC’s application.

As a result of those discussions, STEC and the other parties have reached a unanimous agreement to support the approval of STEC’s application using the new route, Modified Route H, which is the same as the original Route H except that, on the south end of the proposed route, Segment 30 is deleted and replaced by Segments 27 and 29. As so revised, the stipulation added, Modified Route H – which is 6.2 miles long – consists of Segments 1, 6, 13, 20, 25, 28, 27, 29, and 31.

Among other things, the stipulation noted that the parties request that the commission administrative law judge issue a notice of approval consistent with the terms of the agreement.

As TransmissionHub reported in July, STEC is seeking approval to build the line to connect the Palmas Wind Energy Project to the ERCOT grid. Palmas Wind, LLC requested that STEC interconnect its Palmas Wind Energy Project generating facilities at the Palmas station, which would be owned by STEC. The wind generation facility will be comprised of 46 wind turbine generators rated 3.15 MW each with a total nominal capacity of about 145 MW, STEC added in its application.

STEC said that its 138-kV East Rio Hondo substation, which is generally south of the Palmas wind farm collection facility, is the closest transmission substation.

According to the project’s estimated schedule, right of way and land acquisition would begin in November and be completed in February 2019; engineering and design would begin in January 2019 and be completed in February 2019; material and equipment procurement would begin in January 2019 and be completed in March 2019; construction of the facilities would begin in March 2019 and be completed in June 2019; and the facilities would be energized from June 2019 to September 2019.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3065 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 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.