LCRA Transmission Services Corp. last month filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas an application to build a new 345-kV transmission line in Gillespie, Llano, San Saba, Burnet, and Lampasas counties in Texas.

The application includes a preferred route suggested by LCRA TSC and 10 additional alternate routes for the Gillespie to Newton transmission line. The new line will be approximately 80 to 90 miles long, depending on the final route the PUC chooses for LCRA TSC to construct.

The line will connect LCRA TSC’s expanded Gillespie Station, located in Central Gillespie County, to the designated Oncor Electric Delivery Co.’s Newton Station in southeastern Lampasas County. The line will be built as a single circuit, double-circuit capable line. Initially, one 345-kV circuit will be installed on the transmission line, which will accommodate a second 345-kV circuit when necessary.

LCRA TSC’s application is a request to amend its Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN). PUC must approve the CCN application before construction can begin.

Construction of the Gillespie to Newton transmission line is 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, called Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), to homes and businesses in areas of high energy demand throughout the state. The CREZ effort will significantly increase Texas’ current transmission capacity for wind power.

The PUC considers the Gillespie to Newton project a CREZ priority project. Plans are to energize the new line near the end of 2012.

Potentially affected landowners will have 30 days to intervene in this proceeding, PUC Docket No. 37448. LCRA TSC mailed letters to directly affected landowners, as required by the PUC, on Oct. 28.

The PUC will make a decision on the final route within 181 days of LCRA TSC’s filing its CCN application. The PUC can approve the application as presented, approve it with modifications, or deny it. If the PUC approves the project, LCRA TSC will send a final notice to directly affected landowners indicating if their property is on the approved route.

Descriptions and maps of the preferred and alternative routes appeared in a public notice the week of Nov. 2 in the Boerne Star & Record, Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post, Comfort News, San Antonio Express-News, Llano County Journal, Highlander News, Burnet Bulletin, Burnet Citizens Gazette, Picayune, River Cities Tribune, Lampasas Dispatch Record, and Austin American-Statesman.

The maps also are available on LCRA’s Web site at lcra.org/energy/trans/crez/ as of Oct. 28. They also can be accessed on the PUC’s document. Also, maps illustrating the county-specific project links and the project area LCRA TSC studied to design the routes may be reviewed at the county courthouses in Gillespie, Llano, San Saba, Burnet, and Lampasas counties.

LCRA TSC staff is working on alternate routes associated with additional CREZ priority projects to file with the PUC. LCRA TSC will file the Twin Buttes to McCamey D priority project on Jan. 15, 2010, and the McCamey D to Kendall to Gillespie priority project on July 6, 2010. Open houses for the public to gather information and to comment on these priority projects will be scheduled in early 2010. Open houses for the Twin Buttes to McCamey D priority project were held in May 2009.

Several other CREZ secondary or subsequent projects are also in the works. LCRA TSC will file the McCamey A to Odessa project with the PUC on May 24, 2010, and the McCamey C to McCamey A project on July 26, 2010. Open houses on these projects will be held in early 2010 as well.

As ordered by the PUC, LCRA TSC will build, own and operate about 600 miles of CREZ-related new and rebuilt existing transmission lines and facilities, which will cost a total of about $700 million, according to PUC estimates.

Several other transmission service providers also will build about 2,400 miles of CREZ-related lines.