Athens Review, Athens, Texas

November 29, 2013

Oncor considering additional transmission lines

Chad Wilson
The Athens Review

Athens — Public meetings have been held in Cross Roads and Cayuga for a proposed 345-kilovolt electric transmission line that will run throughout Henderson and Anderson County.

According to Oncor, Texas is continuing to promote and increase the integration of renewable and clean energy into the state’s electric market. Reliable electric facilities must be in place to support increased levels of renewable energy and to provide efficient means for this electric power to reach consumers.

Oncor has received a request to interconnect a new, proposed Compressed Air Energy Storage electric generation facility, located at a salt dome near Tennessee Colony in Anderson County, with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid.

Due to the required location of the generating plant site and its proximity to accessible existing transmission facilities, Oncor is proposing to construct a new double circuit 345 kV electric transmission line to interconnect the proposed plant to the electric grid.

Completion of the new transmission line will provide the necessary interconnection to move essential additional generated bulk electric power to the Texas electric market.

Transmission lines are the high voltage conductors that move electricity from power plants to distribution systems, which deliver electricity to homes and businesses. It may help to think of them as “highways” for electricity. In the same way that highways are built to ensure that you and your family get from one place to another, transmission lines are necessary to make sure that electricity gets from where it is produced to where it is consumed.

The project is proposed to be a double circuit 345 kV transmission line constructed on steel lattice towers. Based on the preliminary proposals, the transmission line could stretch up to 16 miles.

The proposed New Bethel Switching Station is located southeast of the Farm-to-Market Road 2706 and County Road 2504 intersection in Anderson County to a yet to be determined location along the existing Trinidad—Stryker Creek 345 kV transmission line in Henderson County.

Oncor is committed to routing the proposed transmission line in a manner consistent with the values of the local communities, the Texas Utilities Code, and the Public Utility Commission of Texas rules and policies.

In support of the routing process, Oncor held two public participation meetings to solicit input for use in determining line routing alternatives for the proposed transmission line.

Halff Associates, a consulting firm retained by Oncor for the project, has identified preliminary alternative transmission line route links for consideration.

Oncor representative Jeamy Molina said the project is in the early planning stages but it is similar to ones being conducted across the state.

The public meetings were the second step in the process as Oncor now moves to the review and approval phase.

After the environmental assessment is complete, Oncor files its application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas requesting a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity, which outlines specific attributes of the line, describes the need for the line and identifies potential impacts on the surrounding community and environment.

Once the company files the CCN application with the PUC, interested parties have an opportunity to participate in the process and express their views to the PUC. In most cases, the PUC has up to one year to approve or deny a CCN application.

Molina estimated Oncor would file with the PUC in March 2014 and thus would not be able to start the project until March 2015 at the earliest.

If the CCN is approved, Oncor will begin acquiring right-of-way and constructing new facilities.

The proposed project is estimated to cost $800 million.

Area landowners have expressed concern over the project during the meetings. Some concerns expressed include possible impact on the farming community, natural views of the land, underground water supplies and excess drilling that could lead to earthquakes as seen in the Cleburne area.

If you have any questions concerning the proposed transmission line, contact Jeremy McConnell at 214-486-7336 or email transmissionprojects@oncor.com.