Sharyland Utilities, L.P., and the City of Lubbock, acting by and through Lubbock Power & Light – referred to as the joint applicants – on Dec. 19 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas a joint application for a certificate of convenience and necessity for the proposed Wadsworth to New Oliver to Farmland 345-kV Transmission Line (WNF Line) in Lubbock and Lynn counties in Texas, as well as for the proposed Southeast to New Oliver to Oliver 115-kV Transmission Line (SNO Line) in Lubbock County.
As noted in the joint application, the project is among several projects necessary to implement the commission’s final order in Docket No. 47576. The commission in March approved LP&L’s proposal to transition a large portion of its system and load from the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) grid to the ERCOT grid under a transmission interconnection plan developed by ERCOT, known as Option 4ow.
The commission determined that, under the terms of its order, including the selection of Option 4ow as the transmission integration solution, the transition is in the public interest, the joint applicants added.
The commission also designated Sharyland and LP&L to provide the transmission facilities needed to interconnect LP&L’s system to ERCOT. The project is an important part of the infrastructure needed to ensure the LP&L system can safely and reliably interconnect to, and operate in, the ERCOT system, the joint applicants added.
The joint applicants noted that LP&L in September 2017 filed an application requesting commission authorization to transition a portion of its system and load – referred to as the affected load – from SPP to ERCOT by June 1, 2021, because its wholesale power contract with Southwestern Public Service (SPS) for the affected load will expire May 31, 2021. LP&L determined that moving the affected load to ERCOT was the best option as doing so will provide for affordable power, assure a diversified energy portfolio, simplify the regulatory environment, and provide an opportunity for retail electric competition in Lubbock, the joint applicants said.
The WNF Line would be a single-circuit line on double-circuit-capable structures, and the SNO Line would be a single-circuit line. The WNF Line would connect LP&L’s existing Wadsworth station – which will be expanded by Sharyland to include a new 345-kV switchyard – located on the east side of Lubbock in Lubbock County, to Sharyland’s existing Farmland station, located southeast of Tahoka in Lynn County.
The joint applicants added that the WNF Line would be routed through one of two alternative locations for the proposed New Oliver station, located on the southeast side of Lubbock in Lubbock County. The SNO Line would connect LP&L’s existing Southeast station, located on the south side of Lubbock in Lubbock County, to LP&L’s existing Oliver station, also located on the south side of Lubbock. The joint applicants also said that the SNO Line would be routed through one of two alternative locations for the proposed New Oliver station, located on the southeast side of Lubbock.
The WNF Line would be about 42 to 53 miles long, depending on the route approved by the commission, and would be built on a combination of monopole and lattice tower structures within a typical right of way (ROW) about 175 feet wide. The SNO Line would be about 14 to 26 miles long, depending on the route approved by the commission, and would be built on monopole structures within a typical ROW about 60 feet wide. Those widths, however, may vary depending on location and design requirements, the joint applicants added.
Both of the lines include the New Oliver station as an intermediate endpoint, the joint applicants said, adding that the station is a proposed, unbuilt station and therefore, in order to provide the commission with alternative station locations to consider in the context of each interconnecting transmission line, the joint applicants are proposing both lines in a single CCN application with two New Oliver station site options.
The joint applicants said that they are proposing 22 alternative routes for the WNF Line and 14 alternative routes for the SNO Line, with each proposed alternative route routed through either New Oliver Option 1 or New Oliver Option 2 as an intermediate endpoint location that would serve as one of three 345-kV feeds to LP&L from ERCOT, as described in Option 4ow.
The proposed alternative routes for the WNF Line exit the Wadsworth station and generally proceed south to the New Oliver station, and then generally proceed further south to the Farmland station. The joint applicants added that the proposed alternative routes for the SNO Line exit either directly from the Southeast station or from one of two alternative points of interconnect (POI) on an existing 230-kV line – which would be disconnected from SPP and repurposed to connect the Southeast station to ERCOT, if one of those two POIs is selected – and generally proceed east/southeast to the New Oliver station. Then, the SNO Line alternative routes generally proceed back west/northwest to the Oliver station, which is about 2.4 miles southwest of the Southeast station.
The majority of the study area is in a rural setting with the exception of the areas in and near Lubbock, New Home, Slaton, Tahoka, and Wilson, the joint applicants added, noting that land use within the study area is predominantly agriculture, with residential and commercial development within the areas in and near the five cities.
Noting that their routing consultant, POWER Engineers, developed and evaluated 22 primary alternative routes for the WNF Line and 14 primary alternative routes for the SNO Line, the joint applicants said that they selected the 41.9-mile WNF 20 as the route they believe best addresses certain requirements, as well as the 17.8-mile SNO 9 as the route they believe best addresses certain requirements.
Among other things, the filing noted that Route WNF 20 has an estimated total cost of about $88.4m – that is, about $67.8m for the “T-Line”; about $5.2m for the Wadsworth station; about $12m for the New Oliver station; and about $3.4m for the Farmland station. The filing also noted that Route SNO 9 has an estimated total cost of about $51.9m – that is, about $21m for the “T-Line”; $575,000 for the Southeast station; about $17.8m for the New Oliver station; $560,000 for the Oliver station; and about $12.3m for the Wadsworth station.
According to the estimated schedule, ROW and land acquisition would begin in December 2019 and be completed in July 2020; engineering and design would begin in December 2019 and be completed in October 2020; material and equipment procurement would begin in December 2019 and be completed in November 2020; and construction of the facilities would begin in March 2020 and be completed in June 2021, which is also when the facilities would be energized.