The Public Utility Commission of Texas amends the certificates of convenience and necessity (CCNs) of LCRA Transmission Services Corporation and AEP Texas Inc., to include the construction and operation of the Bakersfield-to-Solstice 345-kV transmission line in Pecos County, according to a proposed order sent to the commission on April 22 by the Office of Policy & Docket Management.
As noted in an accompanying April 22 document from that office to the commission and all parties of record, the commission will consider the docket at an open meeting scheduled for May 23 at the commission’s office in Austin, Texas.
Parties may file corrections or exceptions to the proposed order by May 15, the filing noted.
As noted in the proposed order, LCRA and AEP Texas Inc., in November 2018 filed a joint application to amend their CCNs for authority to build, own, and operate the
double-circuit line, which would connect LCRA’s Bakersfield substation, as expanded, and AEP Texas’ Solstice switching substation, as expanded. LCRA owns and operates the Bakersfield substation and would own the eastern half of the line, while AEP Texas owns and operates the Solstice switching substation and would own the western half of the line, the proposed order said.
LCRA would expand the existing Bakersfield substation to accommodate the line, and AEP Texas would expand the existing 138-kV Solstice switching station with the construction of a new 345-kV substation yard adjacent to the existing 138-kV Solstice switching substation as the western termination of the Bakersfield-to-Solstice line.
The new line would connect the new 345-kV double-circuit facilities at the two substations, with the line ownership – point of interconnection – being split at the midpoint of the route, the proposed order added.
As TransmissionHub reported, a “complete unanimous stipulation” filed with the commission on Feb. 20 calls for the approval of “Route 24” for the routing of the project, which is not changed or modified from the route as filed in the application filed jointly last November.
That filing also noted that the unanimous stipulation on routing of the project within Pecos County – referred to as the route stipulation – was entered into as of Feb. 15 by LCRA; AEP Texas; Oncor Electric Delivery Company; commission staff; and all of the intervenors who remain parties to the proceeding and are affected by one or more route alternatives for the Bakersfield to Solstice 345-kV transmission line project that is proposed to be built by LCRA and AEP Texas.
The total length of the right of way (ROW) for Route 24 is 71.1 miles, the filing noted, adding that Route 24 is estimated to cost about $156m. The estimated cost for upgrade of the Bakersfield station is about $6.5m, and the estimated cost for upgrade of the Solstice switch station is about $38.5m.
According to the proposed order, on route 24, the point of interconnection between the LCRA and AEP Texas facilities would be at a dead-end structure owned by AEP Texas on segment M; the point of interconnection on route 24 would be located 14.4 miles north of Interstate 10 at 2,200 feet west of that route’s crossing of Farm-to-Market 1053.
The proposed transmission facilities are needed to support load growth in the Far West Texas area; address reliability violations under ERCOT reliability criteria and NERC reliability standards; as well as provide the infrastructure necessary to facilitate future transmission system expansion to continue to support that load growth, the proposed order said.
There are no parks or recreational areas crossed by route 24, and there are no parks or recreational areas located within 1,000 feet of the centerline, the proposed order said, adding that the proposed line would not significantly disturb the use or enjoyment of parks or recreational areas.
Noting that route 24 crosses two previously recorded cultural resource sites and comes within 1,000 feet of two additional recorded cultural resource sites, the proposed order said that that route crosses 15.3 miles of areas of high potential for archaeological sites.
The proposed order also noted that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department identified route 24 as the route having the least potential to impinge on fish and wildlife resources.
Among other things, the proposed order said that the commission amends LCRA’s CCN number 30110 to include the construction and operation of the facilities along links A, C, D, E, and F, as well as 2,490 feet of the eastern portion of link M up to the tower structure to be owned by AEP Texas and labeled as the Bakersfield-Solstice terminus that would establish a new interconnection between LCRA and AEP Texas.
The proposed order also said that the commission amends AEP Texas’ CCN number 30170 to include the construction and operation of the facilities along links R, W, X, and Y, as well as the western portion of link M up to the Bakersfield-Solstice terminus tower structure.
The proposed order said that LCRA and AEP Texas must cooperate with pipeline owners or operators in the vicinity of the approved route regarding the assessment of pipeline owners or operators of the need to install measures to mitigate the effects of alternating current interference on existing natural gas pipelines that are paralleled by the proposed transmission facilities.
Also, the proposed order said that the granted authority is limited to a period of seven years from the date that the order is signed unless, before that time, the line is commercially energized.