LCRA Transmission Services Corp. now has more time to study additional possible transmission line routes it plans to build in West Texas and the Hill Country. This comes after the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) granted LCRA TSC a motion to delay.
LCRA TSC now will be able to delay the filing dates of its four Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) priority transmission projects. They are a part of a greater estimated $4.9 billion project intended to allow for reliable and cost-effective delivery of power produced from wind generators located in areas of West Texas and the Panhandle to areas of high energy demand throughout the state.
The filing dates are now extended to Oct. 28, 2009, for the Gillespie to Newton Project; Jan. 15, 2010, for the Twin Buttes to McCamey D Project; and July 6, 2010, for the McCamey D to Kendall and Kendall to Gillespie projects, which will be combined into a single filing called McCamey D to Kendall to Gillespie.
A delay in the filing date sets the new in-service date for the McCamey D to Kendall to Gillespie transmission lines to the last quarter of 2013. The PUC will select the final routes in 2010 for the Gillespie to Newton and Twin Buttes to McCamey D projects and in 2011 for the combined McCamey D to Kendall to Gillespie projects.
LCRA TSC requested the delay after reviewing considerable data, routing proposals, and comments submitted by landowners, members of the public, and governmental officials and concluded it needs more time to adequately study and prepare alternate routes. Originally, LCRA TSC was to file with the PUC a request for an amendment to its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for all four priority projects in October 2009. The amended CCN is necessary for transmission line construction to begin.
The new routes and routing concepts to be studied include routes along and/or in the right of way of U.S. Highway 277 and Interstate 10; routes paralleling existing 138-kilovolt lines in the vicinity of Menard, Mason, and Fredericksburg; and routes paralleling and in the same corridor as some proposed routes located north of the Kendall Station.
Counties to be included in the study areas where LCRA TSC’s new CREZ-related transmission projects may be constructed include Schleicher, Irion, Tom Green, Sutton, Kimble, Kerr, Kendall, Gillespie, Menard, Mason, Llano, Burnet, Lampasas, Ector, Crane, Upton, Pecos, and San Saba.
LCRA TSC plans to host several open houses in the early part of 2010 to inform the public of the new route options and gather input. Affected landowners and local elected officials will receive open house notices in the mail. Notices also will be published in local newspapers.
As ordered by the PUC, LCRA TSC will build, own, and operate about 600 miles of new and rebuilt existing transmission lines and facilities that will total about $700 million, according to PUC estimates.
Several other transmission service providers also will build CREZ lines totaling about 2,400 miles.