The Public Utility Commission of Texas Thursday unanimously approved a route to bring power to markets throughout the state. The action clears the way for LCRA Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC) to begin making plans to purchase needed rights of way. The line is expected to be energized by December 2013.
“LCRA TSC is very pleased that the Public Utility Commission determined the best route to effectively carry electricity produced in Texas to Texans who need electricity for their homes and businesses,” said Lower Colorado River Authority General Manager Tom Mason.
“The process, while challenging for the parties, allowed the Hill Country’s values to be carefully weighed in this important decision,” Mason said. “Those values came through loud and clear in the thousands of comments we received in surveys and at open houses attended by more than 3,400 people. As a result, the route selected by the PUC follows Interstate 10 for a great distance, uses monopoles near the cities of Junction and Kerrville and uses property of willing landowners where possible. No route satisfies all interests, but this route can be successfully, safely and reliably constructed by LCRA TSC.”
The route takes power from a substation south of San Angelo in Schleicher County to a substation in Kendall County that is connected to the rest of the Texas transmission grid. The route travels parallel to Interstate 10 from a place west of Junction to near the end of the line just east of Kerrville.
Much of the deliberations at the PUC centered on reducing the impact in Junction, which has an airport along the route, and Kerrville, where the route crosses areas slated for commercial development.
“LCRA deeply appreciates the involvement of thousands of citizens who provided information, sought solutions and stayed with the process,” Mason said. “This allowed LCRA TSC to provide the commission with options for the best possible routes.”
The project has been in the works for two years. The line will be approximately 140 miles long and cost is currently estimated between $330 million and $350 million.
LCRA TSC originally offered 60 different routes, each of them feasible. Because of the very large size, an unprecedented 1,100 landowners intervened in LCRA TSC’s application before the PUC.
During the process, a second leg of the transmission line, from the Kendall substation to near Fredericksburg, was declared no longer needed. Instead, LCRA TSC will upgrade existing facilities.