Texas regulatory staff recommends approval of estimated $23m, 345-kV line in Wharton County

According to staff’s June 1 filing, The proposed line is needed to provide direct interconnection for EDF Renewables’ new generation facility known as Space City Solar

Public Utility Commission of Texas staff on June 1 recommended that the commission approve CenterPoint Energy Houston, LLC’s application regarding its proposed 345-kV transmission line in Wharton County.

As noted by staff, the new double-circuit-capable, 345-kV, single-circuit electric transmission line would be built between the existing CenterPoint-owned 345-kV Hillje substation and the planned EDF Renewables Development, Inc., Space City Interconnection substation.

The proposed line is needed to provide direct interconnection for EDF Renewables’ new generation facility known as Space City Solar, staff added.

Staff concluded that the project is necessary for the service, accommodation, convenience, and safety of the public.

Staff also noted that “Alternative Route 3” is the best route when weighing certain factors.

As TransmissionHub reported, in its December 2020 application for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN), CenterPoint said that POWER recommended Alternative Route 3 as the route that best addresses certain requirements, with that route, for instance:

  • Being the shortest route, at about 3.5 miles long
  • Avoiding and minimizing potential impacts to community values, while environmental integrity is maximized
  • Having no habitable structures located within 500 feet of its centerline

CenterPoint said that it concurred with the selection of Alternative Route 3 as the route that best addresses certain requirements.

The company’s filing noted that proposed Alternative Route 3 has an estimated total cost of about $23m.

Staff, in its June 1 filing, said that the commission should direct CenterPoint to conduct surveys, if not already completed, to identify pipelines that could be affected by the transmission lines and coordinate with pipeline owners in modeling and analyzing potential hazards because of alternating-current affecting pipelines being paralleled.

In addition, if CenterPoint encounters any archaeological artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work must cease immediately in the vicinity of the artifact or resource, and the discovery must be reported to the Texas Historical Commission.

Among other things, staff also said that the commission should direct CenterPoint to use best management practices to minimize the potential impacts to migratory birds and threatened or endangered species.

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About Corina Rivera-Linares 3266 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 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 clinares@endeavorb2b.com.