Mason County News
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Public Invited to CREZ Transmission and Wind Energy Presentation
Wednesday, November 3, 2010 • Posted November 3, 2010

A presentation entitled "CREZ Transmission Developments and The Rest of the Truth About Wind Energy" will be featured as the key part of an informational meeting hosted by Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment (SOSHCE). The public is invited to attend. The meeting will be at 6:30pm on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at the Gillespie County Farm Bureau building at 237 Equestrian Drive in Fredericksburg. Soft drinks will be served.

The update on CREZ transmission developments will be particularly timely as the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas is scheduled to address the utilization of alternatives to two of the possible Hill Country CREZ lines at a November 10 Open Meeting. The two CREZ lines that could be eliminated are the Gillespie (Fredericksburg area) to Newton (Lampasas County) and the Kendall (Comfort area) to Gillespie lines. These lines could impact Kendall, Kerr, Gillespie, Llano, Burnet, Lampasas and San Saba counties. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of the state of Texas, has concluded that there are much lower cost alternatives than the lines. Cost savings of $143 million are projected by ERCOT for upgrading existing circuits in the Kendall and Killen areas and for adding an additional transformer at the Kendall substation. The savings could exceed $200 million if more current LCRA TSC cost estimates are utilized.

The latest information on the third CREZ line that will likely impact the Hill Country will also be presented. That line is proposed to run from McCamey D (El Dorado/San Angelo area) to Kendall. The line could impact Schleicher, Sutton, Kimble, Menard, Mason, Kerr, Kendall and Gillespie counties. ERCOT has concluded that there are no cost beneficial alternatives to that line. The related PUC proceeding is continuing with a large number of intervenors participating. LCRA TSC presented its Preferred Route for McCamey D to Kendall, as well as one for Kendall to Gillespie, in late July. The PUC Staff presented significantly different Recommended Routes in October. The hearing on the merits currently being conducted by the Administrative Law Judges is scheduled to conclude by November 5. After the Administrative Law Judges present their subsequent proposals on routing and structure type, the PUC Commissioners will conduct a hearing with their final decisions required by January 27, 2011.

Information will also be presented about wind energy which is the reason for the CREZ transmission lines. Included will be the significant federal, state and local subsidies wind energy receives; the added transmission costs that will be paid by ratepayers; the very high level of back-up generation capacity that is required due to the variability of wind; the large number of wind turbines and areas that are required; and the lack of any state regulation pertaining to siting of wind farms and to removal of wind turbines when they are no longer operational.

The featured presentation will be preceded by a brief annual meeting of the SOSHCE organization which will include election of eight Directors and submittal of an annual report of operations for the past year.

More Information on SOSHCE and on CREZ transmission lines and industrial wind development is available on the group’s website, soshillcountry.org.

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