The Public Utility Commission of Texas, in a Jan. 18 final order, approved the December 2017 application by Oncor Electric Delivery Company and Brazos Electric Cooperative for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to build the new double-circuit Cogdell-to-Clairemont 138-kV transmission line extending from Oncor’s existing Cogdell substation in Scurry County to Brazos’ existing Clairemont substation in Kent County.
The commission said that it is adopting the proposal for decision (PFD) issued last October by the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), in which SOAH recommended granting the joint application for modified route 125.
“[T]he commission adopts the PFD in part by approving the application but selecting modified route 39 instead of modified route 125,” the commission said.
The commission said that it selects modified route 39 based on a preference to parallel an existing transmission line and for aesthetic purposes to avoid a scenic roadway that is appreciated as such by the community.
The transmission facilities will be built on double-circuit, 138-kV, steel or concrete monopole structures, the commission noted, adding that the project also involves work at the Clairemont substation, including work necessary to terminate the line.
The facilities are needed to increase reliability by addressing thermal and voltage violations under certain contingencies modeled under applicable reliability standards; provide looped service to areas currently served by radial transmission lines; and serve load growth, the commission noted. The Regional Planning Group of ERCOT reviewed the Salt Creek Area Transmission Project – of which the transmission facilities are a component – and accepted it as a Tier 2 reliability project. ERCOT’s independent review found that loss of the Spur-to-Aspermont and Sun-to-Scurry 138-kV lines would result in thermal overloads and low-voltage violations of 69-kV facilities in the area where the transmission facilities would be built, the commission added.
Modified route 39, which includes certain proposed modifications to links C, XX, and ZZ, is estimated to cost about $26.3m, excluding station costs; the transmission facilities include about $2m in station costs associated with the facilities at the Clairemont substation.
Over its approximately 24-mile length, modified route 39 has two habitable structures within 300 feet of its centerline. The commission added that modified route 39 utilizes or parallels existing compatible right of way (ROW) and apparent property boundaries for about 77.25% of its length.
There is no park or recreational area within 1,000 feet of the centerline of modified route 39, the commission said, adding that the route crosses 12 recorded cultural resource sites, and that there are 29 additional sites located within 1,000 feet of modified route 39. Also, 15.1 miles of modified route 39 pass through areas of high historical or archaeological site potential. The commission added that no adverse effects to archaeological or historical resources are anticipated as a result of building the transmission facilities.
In addition, about 554 feet will cross areas designated as having the potential for suitable habitat of endangered or threatened species. The applicants will coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the extent that threatened or endangered species’ habitats are identified during field surveys, the commission added, noting that modified route 39 is unlikely to affect federally listed plant or animal species.
Among other things, the commission said that the authority granted by its order is limited to a period of seven years from the date the order is signed unless, before then, the line is commercially energized.
The commission noted that the applicants estimated that they would finalize engineering and design, as well as acquire all ROW and land, by September; procure material and equipment by February 2020; and complete construction by June 2020, which is also when the facilities would be energized.