Texas regulators OK transmission line for 200 MW Salt Fork Wind project

bonneville power administration transmission elp

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), during a May 21 open meeting, approved Cross Texas Transmission’s proposed 345-kV Salt Fork to Gray transmission line in eastern Texas.

The PUCT adopted a proposed order approving CTT’s application to amend the company’s certificate of convenience and necessity for the proposed single-circuit line in Gray and Donley counties in Texas, according to a webcast of the event. The 24-mile line will connect the existing Gray substation in Gray County to a new substation in Donley County, and interconnect the 200 MW Salt Fork Wind project to the ERCOT grid. Cielo Wind Services, the developer of the Salt Fork Wind project, will build the new substation.

Before adopting the proposed order during the meeting, the PUCT approved a motion by CTT to admit evidence into the case record. The motion includes the March 6 affidavits of Timothy Cook, director of electric transmission, Cross Texas Transmission; and Jon Robertson, vice president of business development, Cielo Wind. Both affidavits support the need for the project.

In his affidavit, Robertson said that the transmission line will allow Cielo Wind to finally bring online the Salt Fork Wind project, a nominated Panhandle B competitive renewable energy zone (CREZ) project. Robertson said that Cielo Wind nominated two wind power facilities, one each in the Panhandle A and Panhandle B CREZs.

According to the PUCT’s online CREZ information center, Panhandle A is the southern panhandle CREZ, which extends from the New Mexico border at Oldham County, Texas, to the southeast into Dickens County, Texas. Panhandle B is the northern panhandle CREZ, which extends from the Oklahoma border to the limits of Carson and Armstrong counties in Texas.

Robertson said the original developer of the Salt Fork Wind project attempted to develop its own privately financed and constructed interconnection line for the Salt Fork Wind project in Donley and Gray counties, but the company could not obtain the needed consent to cross over a competing developer’s wind leaseholds on workable terms.

“As Salt Fork [Wind] could not build its own interconnection line, it had no choice but to request that [CTT] fulfill that part of Salt Fork Wind’s transmission service request,” Robertson said.

According to Cook’s March 6 affidavit, the proposed transmission line will serve the public as an open-access line available to, and capable of, interconnecting with not only the Salt Fork Wind project, but also other generation sources in the area.

CTT estimated in its November 2014 application for the transmission line that the project would cost an estimated $51 million. The estimated cost for the transmission line only is about $47.2 million, and the estimated cost for the substation facilities is $3.8 million.

CTT expects to energize the facilities in November.

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