Texas-New Mexico Power Company (TNMP) on Dec. 12 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas an application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity for the proposed Faulkner to Alpine 138-kV Feed Project in Reeves County, Texas.
TNMP said that it proposes to build a new double-circuit, 138-kV transmission line in Reeves County, about 1.2 miles south of Toyah, Texas. The proposed line would begin at a new substation directly east of the existing WD Faulkner substation at the end of County Road 214 (WD Faulkner). The new line would extend west and connect to the new Alpine substation located west of County Road 229, TNMP added, noting that the total length of the line varies from 8.6 miles to 10.5 miles, depending on the route selected by the commission.
The initial need driving the project is based on customer request to TNMP to provide electric service to substantial distribution loads in the area west of the existing WD Faulkner, which is located about “21 miles SW of Pecos, Texas, at the end of a radial” 69-kV transmission line. TNMP added that construction is underway to upgrade the transmission to 138 kV.
In addition to 30 plus sites requiring capacity of about 500 kW per site, there are nine load sites with demands ranging from 15 MW to 30 MW. TNMP also said that the proposed line to the Alpine substation is intended to serve five of those large-scale loads west of Interstate 20.
New commercial customers have entered the area with significant load projections, TNMP said, adding that already identified single large point loads ranging between 16 MW to 30 MW are planned through 2021 with a total projected load of 216 MW. Load of that size in that remote location will require transmission level service. TNMP also said that its existing lines will not fulfill those new transmission service needs.
Additional identified loads scattered throughout the affected area amounting to an additional 70 MW are planned for that same timeframe. TNMP added that it is anticipated that once the utility infrastructure is in place, new load requests will materialize consistent with the current pattern of service requests for the west Texas area.
The land uses in the area are primarily rural and agricultural, TNMP said.
POWER Engineers prepared an environmental assessment and routing study for the project, TNMP said, adding that the consensus opinion of POWER Engineers evaluators was to recommend Route A as the route that best addresses certain requirements. TNMP said that it considers each of the seven alternative routes provided by POWER viable for the proposed project, and that based on certain additional factors, it is TNMP’s opinion that alternative Route D provides the best balance of routing characteristics and best addresses certain requirements.
The number of habitable structures that are within 300 feet of the centerlines of the seven alternative routes is zero. TNMP also said that none of the seven alternative routes cross any parks or recreational areas, or are located within 1,000 feet of any park or recreational area. In addition, none of the seven alternative routes cross or are located within 1,000 feet of any recorded archaeological sites, TNMP said.
According to the filing, Route D has an estimated total cost of about $15.2m, while Route A has an estimated total cost of about $17.7m; the substation facilities portion of the project has an estimated total cost of about $7.2m.
According to the estimated schedule, engineering and design would begin this month and be completed in April 2019; material and equipment procurement would begin in February 2019 and be completed in April 2019; right of way (ROW) and land acquisition would begin in February 2019 and be completed in June 2019; and construction of facilities would begin in June 2019 and be completed in October 2019, which is also when the facilities would be energized.