The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a Nov. 9 final order, adopted a proposal for decision, with some exceptions, that recommended that the commission grant a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) amendment with regards to Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative’s proposed 138-kV transmission line.
As noted in the order, Rayburn in January filed an application to amend its CCN to build a new single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line connecting a new substation to a new switching station in Fannin and Hunt counties in Texas.
The new Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir treatment-plant substation will be built by Rayburn’s member-cooperative, Fannin County Electric Cooperative (Fannin County EC) and will be located on property owned by the North Texas Municipal Water District (North Texas MWD). Fannin County EC will serve retail electric distribution load out of the treatment plant substation, primarily the load associated with North Texas MWD’s water treatment plant and related facilities, the commission added. The new treatment plant switching station will be located along the existing Bonham SWT-to-Wolfe City 138-kV transmission line owned by Oncor Electric Delivery Company.
The proposed transmission line will supply wholesale power to a substation delivery point near the City of Leonard, Texas, to be built by Fannin County EC that will be used to serve North Texas MWD’s water treatment plant and related facilities associated with North Texas MWD’s proposed Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir. The commission added that the reservoir is needed to ensure North Texas MWD has an additional reliable supply of water to meet its near-term needs through 2025, including during drought and other reduced-availability conditions and to provide for a portion of its projected long-term water needs through 2060. Rayburn is the wholesale transmission and power provider for Fannin County EC.
The proposed transmission facilities will be built on single-circuit structures with a design-voltage rating and operating voltage of 138 kV, the commission added, noting that the typical structure will be single-pole steel or concrete structures with typical heights of about 70 feet to 95 feet, although the height could vary depending on terrain, clearance, and span length.
The single-pole transmission facilities will require rights of way (ROWs) with a typical width of about 100 feet, although the width could vary depending upon span length, terrain, and other engineering constraints. The commission also said that no ROW has been acquired, although Rayburn has acquired the property where the treatment plant switching station will be located. Some portions of alternative routes will be located on North Texas MWD-owned property, as will the treatment plant substation.
The commission added that Rayburn initially identified Route L as the route that best addresses certain requirements. Following testimony, discovery, and a hearing on the merits, Rayburn contends Route Mod L is the route that best addresses certain requirements, as Route Mod L has substantial community support and presents similar advantages to those provided by Route L.
Route Mod L is the third least-expensive route with an estimated cost of about $9.2m, which includes ROW and land acquisition, engineering and design, procurement of materials and equipment, as well as construction of facilities, the commission added.
Route Mod L:
- Has the third-fewest number of habitable structures within 300 feet of the ROW centerline with 16
- Crosses 5.43 miles of cropland
- Crosses one recorded cultural resource site; all of the application routes have at least two recorded cultural resource sites within 1,000 feet of the ROW centerline
- Has 2.20 miles of ROW within the foreground visual zone of parks or recreational areas
The commission also said that no significant impacts to wetland resources, ecological resources, endangered and threatened species, or land use are anticipated by Rayburn as a result of the construction of the proposed transmission facilities.
In the event that Rayburn encounters any archaeological artifacts or other cultural resources during transmission line construction, work must cease immediately in the vicinity of the artifact or resource and the discovery must be reported to the Texas Historical Commission, the commission said.
Among other things, the commission said that Rayburn estimated that it would finalize engineering and design by February 2019, acquire all ROW and land by April 2019, procure material and equipment by May 2019, complete construction by February 2020, and energize the proposed transmission facilities by February 2020.