Sept. 17, 2009 - LCRA Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC) and the staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) Wednesday filed a joint motion with the PUC to delay the filing dates of the four Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) priority transmission projects LCRA TSC plans to build in West Texas and the Hill Country.
The delay would give LCRA TSC time to add and study two additional corridors to the original study area for its McCamey D to Kendall project. More time also would allow adequate study of additional routing concepts and routes suggested by PUC staff.
More than 1,900 people attended the open houses, and hundreds of questionnaires were completed and submitted. Since May, LCRA TSC and its consultants have reviewed considerable data, routing proposals, and comments submitted by landowners, members of the public, and governmental officials. LCRA TSC has concluded it needs more time to adequately study and prepare alternate routes.
The next scheduled PUC open public meeting at which time the motion may be considered is Thursday, Sept. 24.
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.
If the PUC grants the delay, the filing dates will be 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 would set 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 2011 for the combined McCamey D to Kendall to Gillespie projects.
The addition of new routes does not eliminate any routes currently under consideration by LCRA TSC.
The PUC has said that several geographically diverse routes must be included in LCRA TSC’s CCN amendment request so that commissioners will have numerous options from which to choose the final routes.
The following are new routes and routing concepts to be studied:
· Route(s) along and/or in the right of way of U.S. Highway 277 and Interstate 10. These are major transportation corridors.
· Route(s) paralleling existing 138-kV lines in the vicinity of Menard, Mason, and Fredericksburg.
· Route(s) paralleling and in the same corridor as some proposed routes located north of the Kendall Station.
LCRA TSC’s application package will include information about a preferred route and alternative routes for the new lines.
Originally, LCRA TSC had four priority projects to build, which LCRA TSC proposed to combine into two CCN filings. After severing sections for further study, it now has divided them into three CCN filings. The names reflect the end points of the project.
In May, LCRA TSC held 10 open houses to gather public input concerning proposed routes for new 345-kilovolt transmission lines that would move renewable energy from wind farms in West Texas and the Panhandle into the state’s more populated areas.
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.
LCRA TSC’s new transmission lines are 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, to areas of high energy demand throughout the state. The CREZ effort will significantly increase Texas’ current electric transmission capacity for wind power.
Several other transmission service providers also will build CREZ lines totaling about 2,400 miles. 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.
Counties where LCRA TSC’s new CREZ-related transmission projects will be constructed include Schleicher, Irion, Tom Green, Sutton, Kimble, Kerr, Kendall, Gillespie, Menard, Mason, Llano, Burnet, Lampasas, Ector, Crane, Upton, Pecos, and San Saba.
For more information about these and other CREZ-related projects, including interactive maps of preliminary transmission line routes and exhibits that were available at the open houses in May, see http://www.lcra.org/crez. Select the individual project for line-specific information.
About LCRA TSC
LCRA Transmission Services Corporation is a nonprofit corporation created by LCRA to build, own, and operate transmission lines and related facilities throughout Texas. LCRA TSC owns and leases about 4,400 miles of transmission lines and other facilities that are part of the state’s electric grid. LCRA TSC pays local and state taxes.
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is a nonprofit conservation and reclamation district that provides energy, water, and community services to Texans. Created by the Texas Legislature in 1934, LCRA has no taxing authority and operates solely on utility revenues and service fees. LCRA supplies electricity to more than 1.1 million Texans through more than 40 wholesale customers. LCRA also provides many other services in the region. These services include managing floods, protecting the quality of the lower Colorado River and its tributaries, providing parks and recreational facilities, offering economic development assistance, operating water and wastewater utilities, and providing soil, energy, and water conservation programs.