Xcel Energy’s (NYSE:XEL) Southwestern Public Service (SPS) on May 31 filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN) authorizing the construction and operation of the Eddy County to Kiowa 345-kV Transmission Line and associated facilities.
The company said that it seeks an order granting:
- Issuance of the CCN that authorizes it to build, operate, and maintain the line and facilities in Eddy County, N.M., that extends from SPS’ Eddy County Interchange to its Kiowa Interchange
- Approval of the location of the line route and the location of the associated substation facilities
- The determination that a right of way (ROW) width of 150 feet is necessary for SPS’ construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed line
- Authorization for SPS to accrue the proposed allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) for the proposed project
- Granting such other approvals, authorizations, and relief to SPS as the commission deems necessary and proper in order to allow SPS to implement and effectuate the relief granted in the final order issued in this case
The transmission line would extend about 34 miles from the Eddy County Interchange, located about 9.5 miles east/southeast of Artesia, N.M., to the Kiowa Interchange, located about 19 miles northeast of Carlsbad, N.M.
SPS added that the line would cross about 19.15 miles of land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 8.70 miles of state-owned land overseen by the New Mexico State Land Office (NMSLO), and 5.97 miles of land owned by private persons.
The BLM issued findings of no significant impact (FONSIs) and decision records, and thereafter, granted the requested ROWs on federal lands for the line route, as well as ROWs for the Eddy County and Kiowa substations, as amended. SPS also said that the NMSLO issued an ROW permit for the portions of the line route located on state lands, and that the company has a pending application for an amendment to the NMSLO ROW permit that concerns a minor adjustment to the line route that crosses state lands to accommodate an oil and gas lessee.
In relation to private lands crossed by the line, SPS said that it has obtained ROW easements for all private lands that are crossed by the proposed project.
The company said that in relation to the need for the project’s facilities, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) prepared a Delivery Point Network Study (DPN Study) to evaluate SPS’ transmission system and existing load growth in the Eddy County area, with the SPP determining that the proposed project is needed for transmission system reliability and stability purposes. Based on the DPN Study findings, the SPP in December 2018 issued a notification to construct, which directs SPS to build a new 345-kV transmission line between the Eddy County and Kiowa substations, and SPS subsequently responded accepting the SPP’s directive.
SPS said that since it has received numerous new load requests since the preparation of the DPN Study, it has determined that load growth in Eddy County and southeastern New Mexico requires construction and operation of the proposed project by November 2020. The project would resolve potential voltage problems on SPS’ transmission system that could result from the expected new load growth, the company said.
SPS said that it is not requesting a determination of ratemaking principals and treatment that would apply to the project’s facilities in ratemaking proceedings. The proposed project’s estimated cost is about $60.8m, which includes AFUDC, SPS said, adding that since it involves a 345-kV line, the proposed project’s total cost would be allocated among SPP members, according to the SPP Base Plan Funding – Highway/Byway cost allocation methodology; amounts attributed to SPS would be allocated according to SPS’ rate-setting jurisdictions.