SunZia Transmission, LLC on April 9 said that it will host a public meeting on April 24 in Oracle, Ariz., to discuss the proposed route realignment of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, as well as to provide an opportunity for public comment.
SunZia noted that it submitted an application to the Arizona Corporation Commission in October 2018 to amend the certificate of environmental quality (CEC) granted by the commission for the project. In response to the Federal Aviation Administration’s review of the project, the application requested a slight route realignment located entirely on Arizona State Trust Lands in Pinal County, near the San Manuel Airport, the company said.
Written public comments concerning the application may be submitted to the commission by mailing a letter referencing Docket No. L-00000YY-15-0318-00171 to the commission, or by submitting comments on the commission’s website.
SunZia added that its application may be heard at an upcoming open meeting of the commission following the April 24 public meeting; the next regularly scheduled commission open meeting thereafter is set for May 21-22.
As TransmissionHub reported, commission staff on Oct. 29, 2018, recommended that the commission amend the CEC, which was issued in February 2016 to SunZia Transmission, LLC for the 500-kV transmission project, in order to allow a route realignment requested by the company, subject to certain conditions.
Those conditions are that there are no other changes to the CEC as approved, and that the project utilize transmission structures as described in the original CEC application, maintaining the same corridor aside from the requested realignment.
As noted by staff, the commission in February 2016 issued a decision – Decision No. 75464 – granting SunZia a CEC, which approved the construction of two new 500-kV transmission lines and associated facilities, originating at a new substation – SunZia East – in Lincoln County, N.M., and terminating at the Pinal Central substation in Pinal County, Ariz.
On Oct. 22, SunZia filed an application requesting an amendment of Decision No. 75464 to authorize a route realignment near the San Manuel Airport. According to the company, staff added, the realignment is required by the FAA to prevent potential hazards in the San Manuel Airport navigable airspace. There are no other proposed changes to the CEC as approved, staff noted.
The information SunZia provided indicates that the proposed route realignment reduces the project profile by reducing the length of the original route, and eliminating two crossings of State Route 78, South Reddington Road. Staff added that according to the application, the route realignment approved by the FAA conforms to the CEC as approved and the applicable state land agencies do not oppose the route changes.
According to the company’s Oct. 22 application, the proposed route realignment is located in Pinal County near the airport, and that the purpose of the realignment is to move the route further away from the airport flight path, ensuring no potential hazards to air navigation.
The company also said that both the original alignment and the realignment are located entirely within Pinal County on Arizona State Trust Land managed by the Arizona State Land Department. The environmental effects associated with the realignment are similar to, or less than, the original alignment, the company added. The realignment crosses lands and resources that are equivalent to the approved corridor, but the realignment is about 0.6 miles shorter than the original route – 1.8 miles instead of 2.4 miles, the company said.
Staff said in its filing that it finds that the route modification does not affect the safe and reliable operation of the grid.
Staff also noted that comments on its recommendation may be filed with the commission’s Docket Control Center by Nov. 5, and that the matter may be scheduled for commission deliberation at its open meetings scheduled for Nov. 7 and Nov. 8.