AEP Texas wants OK for power line to connect solar farm

According to the filing, Route 2 of the line has an estimated cost of about $6.1 million

Content Dam Elp Online Articles 2017 06 Transmission Line June 28 Elp 1

American Electric Power’s unit AEP Texas Inc., in an application received by the Public Utility Commission of Texas on July 11, said that it proposes to build a new 138-kV transmission line from the AEP Texas Solstice substation to the Roserock Point of Interconnection (POI) in Pecos County, Texas.

The project would provide transmission service for the new RE Roserock LLC solar farm, which will have an output capacity of 157.5 MW net at the POI, the company said in its application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity, adding that the purpose of the transmission project is to provide a permanent interconnection for the solar farm to the transmission network.

The AEP Texas Solstice substation is under construction for other additional needs in the area, and is located just north of Interstate Highway 10, about 0.4 mile east of the intersection of I-10 and Hovey Road, and just east of the existing AEP Texas Barrilla Junction substation, the company said.

Until that transmission line is built to directly feed the Roserock solar farm into the AEP Texas Solstice substation, the Roserock solar farm will directly interconnect temporarily as a hard tap into the existing AEP Texas Barrilla to Ft. Stockton 138-kV transmission line, the company said.

The hard tap is referred to as the Linterna Interconnect and is located about five miles east of the I-10 and Hovey Road Interconnection on the north side of I-10, the company noted.

The proposed Roserock POI location would be dependent on which route is approved by the PUC and would interconnect into the Roserock solar farm 138-kV hard tap transmission line, the company said. The point of interconnection to the Roserock solar farm from the 138-kV transmission temporary hard tap line would be at a dead-end structure and would be located at one of two locations, the company noted.

The length of the proposed line route would be between 4.44 miles and 5.07 miles, depending on the route selected by the PUC, the company said. The project would be built using single-pole steel structures, the company noted, adding that the typical structure for the project would be between 80 feet and 100 feet in height.

The area traversed by the line is located about 26.5 miles directly west of the City of Fort Stockton in Pecos County, and borders I-10 to the north, the company said. The area lies within the Southern High Plains physiographic region of Texas, which forms flat plains with many playas and local dune fields, the company said. The area traversed by the line is primarily rural and undeveloped open shrubland, the company noted.

According to the estimated schedule, right of way (ROW) and land acquisition, as well as engineering and design, would begin in July 2018, and be completed in January 2019. Material and equipment procurement would also begin in July 2018, and be completed in February 2019, while construction of the facilities would begin in February 2019, and be completed in August 2019, which is when the facilities would be energized, according to the schedule.

The company noted that it has determined that “Route 2” provides the best balance of routing characteristics and best addresses certain requirements.

There are no habitable structures located within 300 feet of any of the proposed alternative routes in the project, the company said.

According to the filing, Route 2 has an estimated cost of about $6.1 million.

The Pecos West County Westbound Safety Rest Area has been identified to be about 750 feet from the centerline of Routes 2, 3 and 4, and located off the westbound frontage road of I-10 about two miles west of the intersection of I-10 and Mendel Road, the company said. No additional local, federal, or state recreational facilities were identified within 1,000 feet of the centerline of an alternative transmission line route, the company said.

Based on review of the Texas Archaeological Sites Atlas, no previous surveys are recorded within 1,000 feet of an alternative transmission line, the company said, adding that there are no previously recorded cultural resources sites within 1,000 feet of an alternative transmission line route. However, since a cultural resources survey has not been conducted for any of the alternative transmission line routes, the possibility of impacting unknown archaeological sites remains unknown, the company said, adding that it will conduct cultural resource surveys as necessary to comply with state and federal regulations.

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