The Colorado Public Utilities Commission, in a decision adopted on Feb. 14 and mailed on Feb. 19, granted Public Service Company of Colorado’s (Public Service) Dec. 5, 2018, application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for the Shortgrass Switching Station Project.
The decision finds that the matter is uncontested, the commission said.
As noted in the decision, through its application, Public Service requested that the commission grant the company a CPCN for the 345-kV transmission facility, which the company stated is necessary to interconnect the Bronco Plains and Cheyenne Ridge wind generation facilities. The wind facilities are among the 11 generation facilities for which the company was granted a presumption of prudence in Phase II of its most recent electric resource plan, the commission said.
The Shortgrass switching station is located 12 miles east of Hugo in Lincoln County, Colo., and will be configured as a four-position ring bus switching station. The commission added that the station will connect the 345-kV line that runs west to Pronghorn and Missile Site (i.e., the Rush Creek Gen-Tie), the Rush Creek II wind facility, the 345-kV transmission line that will run east to the Cheyenne Ridge wind facility, and the 345-kV line that will connect to the Bronco Plains wind facility.
Public Service estimates the cost of the project is $13.9m.
The commission also said that according to the company: “Timely approval of this CPCN is necessary to commence construction of the Shortgrass Switching Station. This will ensure this interconnection facility is in service for the necessary testing and commissioning of the wind generation facilities in order to achieve a commercial operation date (COD) no later than December 31, 2020 and obtain the full value of the production tax credit [(PTC)].”
The commission noted that Public Service filed on Dec. 21, 2018, an application for approval of a CPCN for the Cheyenne Ridge Wind Project, stating that a decision on that CPCN application by May 1 is necessary to allow time to ensure that it gets the full value of the PTC.
Among other things, the commission noted that Public Service in January filed an amended application and supplemental direct testimony; addressing regulatory staff’s concerns about magnetic fields levels, the company said that its consultant, Tetra Tech, concluded that magnetic field levels do not exceed the 150 mG level at either the edge of the switching station boundary or at the edge of the transmission line right of way (ROW).
The commission said that the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) on Feb. 4 filed its notice of withdrawal indicating that its issues of concern were resolved. Staff also filed a notice of withdrawal on Feb. 4, indicating that with the information included in the company’s amended application and supplemental direct testimony, “there is no longer a reason for staff to request an evidentiary hearing to address the concerns raised in its intervention.”
“The commission has reviewed the Shortgrass CPCN application filed by Public Service, as amended, and finds that the Shortgrass switching station is needed to interconnect the Bronco Plains and Cheyenne Ridge wind facilities,” the commission said.
The commission also noted that it is satisfied that the concerns of intervening parties are resolved through the amended application and supplemental filings.