Public Utility Commission of Texas staff on May 10 told the commission that it recommends approval of Wind Energy Transmission Texas, LLC’s (WETT) proposal to build a new, single-circuit, 138-kV transmission line in Borden County, Texas.
As noted in staff’s filing, the proposed 1.8-mile line would be built on monopoles between a proposed 138-kV expansion of WETT’s existing Long Draw 345-kV, high-voltage switching station and the proposed Long Draw Solar collector substation, which is being developed by the generator, ENGIE Long Draw Solar, LLC.
As TransmissionHub reported, the line would interconnect ENGIE’s substation and generation facility to the electric grid. According to WETT, the estimated total cost of the transmission facilities portion of the project is about $2.2m, and about $12.4m for the substation facilities portion. According to the estimated schedule, if approved, construction of the facilities would begin in October and be completed in May 2020, which is also when the facilities would be energized.
In its filing, staff recommended that the commission order WETT to follow such measures to mitigate construction impacts as that:
- In the event WETT or its contractors encounter any artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work is to cease immediately in the vicinity of the resource and the discovery is to be reported to the Texas Historical Commission
- WETT is to minimize the amount of flora and fauna disturbed during construction of the line, except to the extent necessary to establish appropriate right of way (ROW) clearance for the line
- WETT is to use best management practices to minimize the potential impact to migratory birds and threatened or endangered species
Among other things, staff noted that WETT offered in its application only one route between the proposed Long Draw switching station and the proposed Long Draw collector substation, with that route agreed to by WETT and the sole landowner whose property is crossed by the proposed line.
Staff noted that there are no parks or recreational areas identified within 1,000 feet of the proposed route, and that a cultural resources review found that there are no known historical or archaeological sites located within 1,000 feet of the centerline of the proposed route.
Discussing engineering constraints, staff noted that the proposed route would require crossing streams, creeks, river, roads, and other obstacles. Due to remote location of the project, some line segments would encounter changes in elevation, staff said, adding that such constraints may require specially designed structure foundations and larger-/taller-than-normal structures and span lengths. Staff said that those potential constraints are not severe and can be addressed adequately by utilization of appropriate design and construction practices.