Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. approved for new transmission line

The proposed facilities would consist of about 6.2 miles of 161-kV transmission line, to be operated at 115-kV

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Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. is granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build, operate, and maintain a new 6.2-mile transmission line, as modified by the recommendation of Arkansas Public Service Commission’s general staff, according to a March 22 order signed by an administrative law judge.

As noted in the order, AECC last November filed an application for a CCN to build, own, and operate the line in Pulaski County, Ark.

As TransmissionHub reported, APSC staff on Jan. 26 recommended that the APSC grant AECC a CCN for the project. The line would provide a second transmission service connection to two distribution substations for AECC member, First Electric Cooperative Corporation, Clark Cotten, senior electrical engineer for the APSC General Staff, added in direct testimony on behalf of staff.

The proposed facilities would consist of about 6.2 miles of 161-kV transmission line, to be operated at 115-kV, originating at AECC’s Olmstead distribution substation and terminating at FECC’s existing Zion Hill distribution substation, all located in Pulaski County. The line would be located within a 100-foot-wide right of way (ROW) and be supported by single steel poles with guying required at angle structures, Cotten added.

According to AECC, Cotten said, the desired in-service date for the proposed facilities is June 1, 2018, and the project’s cost is about $4.5 million.

Cotten also said that after reviewing the proposed route, he had concerns about the routing of the line from the point it exits the Olmstead distribution substation to the area around Sayles Road. In that area, the proposed route runs along Fortson Road and its location near a home located on the west side of Fortson Road was concerning, Cotten said.

In that area, AECC had proposed an alternative route, referred to as Alternative A, Cotten said, adding: “I have had a conversation with AECC, and the cooperative is agreeable to using Alternative A up to the point it meets the proposed route on Sayles Road and then continuing with the proposed line route. I did not have any additional concerns with the remainder of the proposed route.”

AECC has presented evidence that the proposed facilities are needed to maintain reliable electrical service to FECC and its members, Cotten said, adding that based on the direct testimonies filed by AECC, he concludes that the proposed facilities are in the public interest.

With his recommended use of route option Alternative A from the Olmstead distribution substation up to Sayles Road, Cotten said that the location of the proposed facilities is reasonable as the cooperative has adequately addressed certain factors identified by the APSC that should be considered in the siting of transmission facilities, including cost, health and safety, as well as ecological/environmental disruptions.

According to the March 22 order, AECC and staff on Jan. 31 filed a joint motion, with AECC stating that it does not object to Cotten’s recommended modification to the proposed route and that AECC will not file rebuttal testimony.

The judge said that the construction of the proposed facilities is found to be needed and in the public interest. There are no engineering or technical concerns associated with the project, and there are no major disruptions of existing or proposed manmade property uses expected, the judge said.

In addition, the site of the proposed project, as modified by the recommendation in Cotten’s direct testimony, and agreed to by AECC, is appropriate and reasonable, the judge said.

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