Texas regulators approve AEP upgrades for transmission segments

transmission line July elp

The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas, in a July 7 order, approved AEP Texas Central’s application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity for the Tuleta to Euler to Coleto Creek double-circuit 138-kV transmission line in Bee and Goliad counties, using routes “TE-3” and “CPA-1.”

As noted in the order, the company, a unit of American Electric Power, last July filed its application regarding the line, which will extend from the new AEP Tuleta substation to the proposed AEP Euler substation, and then to the existing AEP Coleto Creek substation. The project is presented as two separate segments: the Tuleta–Euler segment and the Euler–Coleto Creek segment.

The growth of oil and natural gas production from the Eagle Ford Shale has created electrical load requirements that cannot be met by the existing 69-kV transmission facilities in the area, the order noted.

As TransmissionHub reported, the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), in a May 19 proposal for decision filed with the PUC, said that the company’s application is approved, using “Routes TE-3 and CPA-1.”

According to the PUC’s order, the Tuleta substation is a new station being built as part of the recent AEP Kenedy switching station-to-Tuleta substation transmission line project approved by the PUC in a separate docket.  The addition of that substation will allow load to be removed from the Pettus 69-kV substation as recommended by ERCOT, the PUC said. The Tuleta substation is located adjacent to the existing AEP Pettus-to-Normanna 69-kV transmission line, about two miles north-northeast of the community of Tuleta in Bee County, the PUC said.

The Euler substation is proposed to be built at the intersection of Wilson Lane, West Air Base Road and Farm-to-Market Road 883 on the site of an existing pipeline load that is expanding and is associated with oil and gas development in the Eagle Ford Shale. The addition of that substation will allow that existing load to be removed from the Big Oak 69-kV substation as recommended by ERCOT, the PUC added, noting that the Euler station site is located about 9.5 miles east-northeast of the community of Tuleta in Goliad County.

The seven proposed routes for the TE segment range in estimated cost from about $13.8 million to about $18.7 million, the PUC said, adding that the least-expensive route is route TE-3, which is the route recommended by POWER Engineers. The estimated cost of CPA-1 is about $48.5 million, which falls in the mid-range of total cost estimates for the EC routes, the PUC said.

No parks or recreational areas are within 1,000 feet of any of the TE segment route right of way (ROW) centerlines, and no parks or recreational areas are within 1,000 feet of route CPA-1’s ROW centerline, the PUC said.

The proposed line will not have a long-term impact on soils, water or ecological resources, the PUC said.

Among other things, the PUC said that in the event that the company or its contractors encounter any artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work is to cease immediately in the vicinity of the resource and the discovery shall be reported to the Texas Historical Commission.

Also, the company is to minimize the amount of flora and fauna disturbed during construction of the transmission project, except to the extent necessary to establish appropriate ROW clearance for the transmission line, the PUC said.

The company is to cooperate with the directly affected landowners to implement minor deviations in the approved route to minimize the impact of the line, and is to use best management practices to minimize the potential impact to migratory birds and threatened or endangered species, the PUC said.

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