TPWD issues recommendations for proposed 345-kV line

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) on March 8 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas its recommendations regarding a 345-kV line proposed by Electric Transmission Texas (ETT).

As noted in the filing, ETT is proposing to design and build the Coulomb to Vera Wind 345-kV transmission line in Knox County to interconnect a new wind generation facility. The approximately 3.8-mile transmission line would be built between the proposed Vera Wind substation and the proposed Coulomb switch station using primarily tubular steel monopole structures within a 150-foot right of way (ROW).

There was only one route presented in the environmental assessment (EA) prepared by Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company for ETT and therefore, the TPWD is unable to recommend a preferred route.

The TPWD also said that it recommends that any commission certificate preclude vegetation clearing activities during the general bird nesting season, March 15 through Sept. 15, to avoid adverse impacts to birds. If clearing vegetation during the migratory bird nesting season is unavoidable, the TPWD recommends ETT survey the proposed route for active nests – nests with eggs or young. The TPWD also said that it recommends that a minimum 150-foot buffer of vegetation remain around any nests that are observed prior to disturbance and occupied nests and buffer vegetation not be disturbed until the eggs have hatched and the young have fledged.

In addition, the TPWD said that it recommends surveying potentially disturbed areas for Texas Kangaroo rat habitat prior to construction and avoiding disturbance of those areas, where possible.

Furthermore, the TPWD said that it recommends avoiding disturbance of the Texas horned lizard, its burrows, and colonies of its primary food source, the harvester ant, during clearing and construction.

As TransmissionHub reported, ETT in January filed with the commission an application to amend its certificates of convenience and necessity for the proposed line, which would connect a new transmission service customer, El Campo Wind, LLC, which has requested ETT to interconnect at its to-be-built Vera Wind substation at 345 kV to provide interconnection service to its planned 242.8-MW plant capacity comprised of 17 units at 2 MW each; 48 units at 4.2 MW each; and two units at 3.6 MW each.

The proposed line would be built as a single-circuit, 345-kV line, except for an approximate 0.7-mile section west out of the Coulomb switch station, which would be built double-circuit-capable, ETT said, adding that the project would be built using primarily steel, single-pole structures. The line would extend from the ETT Coulomb 345-kV switch station to the wind farm’s Vera Wind substation.

ETT also said that it would own the new Coulomb 345-kV switch station, while the new Vera Wind substation would be owned by El Campo Wind and would be the other terminus for the project.

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.