The Wyoming Public Service Commission, in an order issued on Jan. 15, approved Black Hills Power’s d/b/a Black Hills Energy (BHE) application, in which BHE sought a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to build and operate the new 230/69-kV Sagebrush substation and related facilities in Weston County.
“Based on the application, the facts and representations presented by BHE, and the analysis and recommendations of commission staff, the commission finds that the application generally conforms to the requirements of commission rules and Wyoming law,” the commission said. “The commission further finds that the Sagebrush substation is necessary and in the public interest. The preponderance of the evidence before the commission supports issuance of the CPCN. Therefore, the CPCN application should be approved, effective immediately.”
BHE submitted its application to the commission in June 2018.
The commission also noted that BHE seeks to build the new substation in northeastern Wyoming about two miles northwest of Newcastle, Weston County, to provide more reliable service to BHE customers in the Osage and Newcastle areas.
BHE customers in the Osage and Newcastle areas are currently served with a single 230/69-kV transformer at the Osage substation that feeds the local 69-kV sub-transmission network. The commission added that when there is a transformer outage, the Osage substation is fed from the Hughes 230/69-kV substation via a 46-mile, 69-kV line.
Current peak demand and the considerable distance from the Hughes substation results in depressed system voltages when the Osage substation transformer is out of service. The commission also said that the addition of the Sagebrush substation will address the low voltages at the current peak demand and accommodate future demand growth.
The commission noted that according to BHE, the total cost of construction is estimated to be $6.4m, and that the company will finance the construction of the Sagebrush substation with internally generated funds and short-term debt. BHE is not proposing a specific rate or charge related to the proposed substation, the commission said, adding that the company anticipates the costs of the project will be included in BHE’s next general rate case.