Notice of approval signed in Texas for proposed 138-kV line

The Public Utility Commission of Texas amends an AEP Texas Inc., certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to build and operate the Tardis-to-Benjamin Tap 138-kV transmission line, according to a Jan. 4 notice of approval signed by an administrative law judge.

As noted in the Jan. 4 notice of approval, AEP Texas last October filed an application to amend its CCN to build a 138-kV transmission line from the proposed AEP Texas Tardis switching station to an interconnection point on the existing Benjamin Tap transmission line.

AEP Texas proposed one route in the application, which is about 1.7 miles long, the notice said, adding that both of the directly affected landowners agreed to the proposed route.

The notice said that the project’s estimated cost for the line is about $3.3m and about $6.3m for the Tardis switching station.

AEP Texas would build the line as a single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line on single-pole tubular steel structures, with the typical structure for the line to be 70 to 100 feet in height and would require a 100-foot-wide right of way (ROW), according to the notice.

Discussing the need for the proposed project, the notice said that the area north of the City of Aspermont is served by Brazos Electric Power Cooperative 69-kV transmission lines with AEP Texas 138-kV sources in the Aspermont and East Munday substations. In addition to the communities in that area, the load is primarily related to oil field pumping and is forecast to increase in the next several years.

The notice added that studies have shown that adequate voltage cannot be maintained during an outage of a 138-kV/69-kV autotransformer in either Aspermont or East Munday, or the respective Brazos Electric 69-kV transmission line, when another system component in the area is out of service (N-1-1). The electrical system is intended to be operated N-1 secure, making maintenance in the area problematic. The notice also said that a maintenance outage of any of those system components would result in the need for load shedding so that N-1 security can be maintained.

Noting that ERCOT conducted an independent review of a proposal submitted to the ERCOT Regional Planning Group (RPG) by Brazos Electric and AEP Texas, the notice said that ERCOT determined that transmission addition, including the project, were necessary to resolve the reliability issues.

The notice also said that there are no parks or recreation areas owned by a government body or an organized group, club, or church that are crossed by, or within 1,000 feet of, the centerline of the proposed route. In addition, there are no known historical or archaeological sites crossed by, or within 1,000 feet of, the centerline of the proposed route. Furthermore, the line would not adversely impact any threatened or endangered plant species or sensitive plant communities, and no significant impacts to unique, sensitive, or protected wildlife habitats are anticipated, the notice said.

Among other things, the notice said that in the event that AEP Texas or its contractors encounter any archeological artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work must cease immediately in the vicinity of the artifact or resource and the discovery must be reported to the Texas Historical Commission.

Also, the notice said that AEP Texas must use best management practices to minimize the potential impact to migratory birds and threatened or endangered species.

The notice further said that the commission limits the granted authority to a period of seven years from the date that the notice is signed unless the line is commercially energized before that time.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 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 corinar@pennwell.com.