Southwestern Public Service (SPS) on Dec. 17 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas a joint proposed notice of approval that calls for the approval of the company’s proposed 115-kV transmission line within Yoakum and Gaines counties (Mustang to Seminole) using route J.
Commission staff has reviewed and agreed to the notice of approval attached to the filing, SPS said.
The company noted that it filed in October an application with the commission to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity for the proposed line. There were three requested interventions in the proceeding and no hearing was requested. There are no contested issues of law or fact, the company said, adding that staff on Dec. 11 filed a pleading recommending approval of SPS’ application.
According to the joint proposed notice of approval, SPS’ recommended route for its project is route J, which is about 17.48 miles long. The joint proposed notice said that SPS would build the line using primarily single-circuit, single-pole steel structures between the existing Mustang substation, located about 0.65 mile northeast of the intersection of County Road (CR) 390 and CR 355, and the existing Seminole substation, located southwest of the intersection of CR 205 and CR 208 in Gaines County. The joint proposed notice said that SPS may use double-circuit wood or steel H-frames for parts of the proposed routing where there is an existing circuit.
The project includes terminal upgrades to the existing substations to accommodate the new line. The joint proposed notice also said that the typical structure for the line would be between 80 feet and 140 feet in height, and would require a 70-foot-wide right of way (ROW).
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has determined that the proposed project is the best solution to mitigate certain time-sensitive thermal overload and voltage needs around the San Andres and Denver City area in West Texas.
The joint proposed notice added that based on the 2016 Integrated Transmission Planning Near-Term (ITPNT) Assessment and the 2016 ITPNT Short Term Reliability (STR) Project Report, the proposed line was identified by SPP as needed for reliability to address:
- The overload issues of the Denver City substation to San Andres tap to Seminole substation 115-kV line
- The low voltages at the Flannagan 69-kV substation; and the Amerada Hess, Doss, Oxy West-Seminole Tap, Roz, and Seminole 116-kV substations
SPP in August 2016 issued to SPS a notification to construct (NTC) for the proposed project based on the results of the 2016 ITPNT Assessment.
The joint proposed notice added that SPS demonstrated a reasonable need for the proposed project in order to continue to provide adequate and reliable service. The need for the project is not disputed by the parties to the proceeding, the joint proposed notice said.
The estimated cost of the project along route J is about $16.5m, consisting of about $11.3m for transmission facilities, about $3.6m for substation facilities, and about $1.6m for costs to modify existing facilities.
The project would have minimal impact on community values, the joint proposed notice added, noting that route J is located within an area in Yoakum and Gaines counties that is predominantly rural, with numerous oil and gas fields, agricultural cropland with prominent pivot irrigation, extensive oil and gas developments, as well as some residential and commercial/industrial developments.
The line would have no adverse impact on park and recreational areas, the joint proposed notice said, adding that the line would have no significant impact on historical and archaeological values.
The line would have minimal impact on aesthetic values, the joint proposed notice said. Among other things, the joint proposed notice also said that the line would have no significant impact on local wildlife. There are nine federally or state-listed threatened or endangered species listed in the study area. The joint proposed notice added that it is unlikely that any of those species would be affected by the project; of those species, two of the state-listed species are likely to occur in the study area.
The joint proposed notice said that SPS would consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department should any federally listed species be observed during construction.
Under “ordering paragraphs,” the joint proposed notice said, for instance, that the commission limits the authority granted by the notice to a period of seven years from the date the notice is signed unless the line is commercially energized before that time.