Oncor Electric Delivery Company and AEP Texas Inc., on Nov. 7 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas a joint application for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for the proposed Sand Lake-Solstice 345-kV Transmission Line Project.
The companies would each hold an ownership interest in portions of the project, which is a proposed double-circuit transmission line connecting Oncor’s Sand Lake Switch, located about six miles northeast of the city of Pecos on the northwest side of Farm-to-Market (FM) Road 3398 in Ward County, Texas, to the AEP Texas Solstice Switch located along the north side of Interstate Highway (IH) 10, about 2.5 miles east of the Pecos/Reeves County Line in Pecos County, Texas.
The companies added that prior to final approval, they would determine an appropriate location along the approved route for a division of ownership between Oncor and AEP Texas that would generally divide the line in two even parts. Oncor and AEP Texas said that they have agreed that each party would be responsible for their respective portions of the project, with coordination of those activities between the two parties.
The project includes the 345-kV additions to Oncor’s Sand Lake Switch station and to AEP Texas’ Solstice Switch station. The work at those stations may include station dead-end structures, bus work, transformers, grading, and fences, the companies added.
The length of the overall project ranges between about 44.5 miles to 58.7 miles, depending on which route is selected by the commission. The companies also noted that the project shares a common endpoint with the separate Bakersfield-Solstice 345-kV transmission line CCN project concurrently being field by AEP Texas and the Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC) in Docket No. 48787. The companies said that they will seek consolidation of this proceeding (Docket No. 48785) with the Bakersfield-Solstice project.
The project area is located in parts of Pecos, Reeves, and Ward counties in Texas, and includes the incorporated cities of Barstow and Pecos. The companies added that the project area generally centers south of the Pecos River in west Texas, south of the New Mexico-Texas state boundary. The majority of the project area consists of rural, undeveloped land used primarily for oil and gas production, livestock grazing, and/or irrigated crop production.
The companies added that the project and associated station work was reviewed by stakeholders and endorsed by ERCOT through the ERCOT Regional Planning Group (RPG) project review process, as part of the Far West Texas 2 project. ERCOT performed power flow studies as part of the ERCOT RPG process and found voltage violations under the NERC Standard TPL-001-4 reliability criteria. The companies added that ERCOT recommended the project as one of the components that would provide the most effective solution to meet reliability needs and provide infrastructure to accommodate future load growth.
The project has also received approval by the ERCOT Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the ERCOT Board of Directors, the companies said.
Discussing the need for the proposed project, the companies noted that the electric utilities principally serving load in West Texas continue to experience load growth in their respective service areas due to oil and natural gas production, mid-stream processing, and associated economic expansion in the area referred to as the Delaware Basin.
Oncor and AEP Texas said that they retained Halff Associates Inc., to prepare an environmental assessment and routing study. The companies said that they have selected Route 320 as the route that best addresses certain requirements.
According to the filing, Route 320 has an estimated total transmission line cost of about $98.2m, and an estimated total project cost – including estimated Oncor and AEP Texas substation facilities costs – of about $125.9m.
The Sand Lake-Solstice project is proposed to be split evenly and the estimated costs are likewise projected to be split evenly, the companies said.
According to the estimated schedule, for Oncor, right of way (ROW) and land acquisition would begin in May 2019 and be completed in July 2020; engineering and design would begin in May 2019 and be completed in March 2020; material and equipment procurement would begin in August 2019 and be completed in June 2020; and construction of the facilities would begin in April 2020 and be completed in December 2020, which is also when the facilities would be energized. For AEP Texas, ROW and land acquisition would begin in May 2019 and be completed in October 2020; engineering and design would begin in May 2019 and be completed in December 2019; material and equipment procurement would begin in June 2019 and be completed in February 2020; and construction of the facilities would begin in January 2020 and be completed in December 2020, which is also when the facilities would be energized.