The Arizona Corporation Commission, in a Dec. 12 order, approved a certificate of environmental compatibility (CEC) issued by the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee to Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) for the APS Bagdad Interconnect 115-kV Transmission Line.
“The commission, in reaching its decision, has balanced all relevant matters in the broad public interest, including the need for an adequate, economical and reliable supply of electric power with the desire to minimize the effect thereof on the environment and ecology of this state, and finds that granting the project a CEC is in the public interest,” the commission said.
The conditions placed on the CEC resolve matters concerning the need for the project and its impact on the environment and ecology of the state raised during the course of proceedings, and as such, serve as the findings on the matters raised, the commission said.
As noted in the Oct. 12 CEC, 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 project would also provide backup power service for small critical loads at a mine, the CEC added.
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 CEC also noted that each structure will be placed within an approximately 50-by-50 foot disturbance area.
Construction of the 115-kV line will be located solely on property owned by Freeport McMoRan Bagdad, Inc., 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 CEC also noted that located entirely within the Bagdad mine, the project will be built within an active mine site and primarily on already disturbed land. Existing land uses within the project area are limited to mining-related activities, with the entire area off limits to the public.
The CEC is granted upon certain conditions, including that the authorization to build the project is to expire five years from the date that the CEC is approved by the 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. However, the CEC added, prior to the expiration of the 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 guidelines for handling protected animal species, should any be encountered during construction, and is to consult with the department as necessary on other issues concerning wildlife.