Nevada Office of General Counsel recommends approval of capacitor project

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s Office of General Counsel late last month said that it recommends that the commission grant Southern California Edison’s (SCE) November 2018 petition for an advisory opinion or a declaratory order as to whether the proposed Eldorado-Lugo-Mohave Series Capacitor Project constitutes a replacement of “like facilities” for the purposes of Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 704.865 (1).

As noted in the General Counsel’s memorandum, SCE requested the commission issue an advisory opinion or a declaratory order finding that, for purposes of NRS 704.865(1), the project involves the installation of “like facilities” and does not require the issuance of a Utility Environment Protection Act (UEPA) permit. SCE said that the project consists of the construction of new mid-line series capacitors, the installation of telecommunications lines, and other related improvements on SCE’s existing facilities in order to increase the power transfer capability of the transmission lines connecting SCE’s Eldorado, Lugo, and Mohave substations, as well as the connection of the capacitor project to SCE’s existing telecommunication system.

The memorandum added that the capacitor project will allow SCE to meet the California Renewables Portfolio Standard to ensure compliance with all applicable reliability planning criteria required by NERC, Western Electricity Coordinating Council, and others.

The capacitor project is located in Nevada on about 70 miles of SCE’s existing right of way (ROW) and would not result in an increase of permanently disturbed acreage. The memorandum also said that the capacitor project consists of:

  • Raising Tower M4-T1 along the Eldorado-Mohave 500-kV Transmission Line by a minimum of about 10 feet and adjusting the tower’s foundation to provide the necessary clearance to meet National Electrical Safety Code overhead clearance requirements
  • Removal of an existing overhead ground wire on existing towers on SCE’s Eldorado-Mohave and Lugo-Mohave 500-kV transmission lines and modifications to the towers necessary to support optical ground wire (OPGW)
  • Installation of about 70 miles of overhead OPGW on SCE’s Eldorado-Mohave and Lugo-Mohave 500-kV transmission lines
  • Installation of about three miles of underground fiber optic cable at the Mohave substation to existing Tower M173-2 of the Lugo-Mohave 500-kV Transmission Line
  • Installation of fiber optic cable at the Eldorado substation
  • Upgrade of the existing series capacitor banks at the Eldorado substation
  • Installation of new terminal equipment at the Eldorado and Mohave substations
  • Replacement of the existing series capacitor bank at the Mohave substation

According to SCE, the capacitor project would consist of upgrading existing facilities within the footprint of its existing facilities, would not result in any new permanently disturbed acreage, and would not necessitate the acquisition of additional ROWs. SCE asserts that the Nevada components of the capacitor project represent “replacement of an existing facility with a like facility” and, therefore, do “not constitute construction of a utility facility” under NRS 704.865(1).

The memorandum added that the commission’s Regulatory Operations Staff recommended that the commission grant the petition, find that the project is replacement of “like kind, existing facilities, and equipment within the footprints of existing substations,” and determine that the project does not require a UEPA Permit to Construct.

In its analysis, General Counsel noted that while “Like facility” is not defined in NRS Chapter 704, staff reviewed the project and found the project to constitute a replacement of “like kind, existing facilities, and equipment within the footprints of existing substations.”
The project, as described by SCE, consists of the replacement of, and upgrade to, existing facilities within the footprint of the existing facilities, will not result in any new permanently disturbed acreage, and would not necessitate the acquisition of additional ROWs. Therefore, General Counsel said that it agrees with staff and SCE that the project constitutes a replacement of existing facilities with like facilities and does not require a UEPA permit.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3067 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.