LCRA Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC) has put on hold further development of an 85-mile transmission line in the Texas Hill Country awaiting further guidance from the state on whether the project still is needed.
The action affects planning for the Gillespie-to-Newton transmission line project that is part of the statewide wind-power initiative called Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ).
In April, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) denied an LCRA TSC application for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) for the Gillespie-to-Newton transmission line project, the planned construction of a new 345-kilovolt power line in Llano, Gillespie, San Saba, Lampasas and Burnet counties. On June 11, the PUC denied four motions for rehearing of its decision, including LCRA TSC’s, and requested the state’s transmission planning organization to reconsider whether the line still is needed.
"The action is helpful," said Tom Mason, LCRA general manager. "We are here to serve the state’s power transmission needs, as it defines them. Now that the PUC has determined that our original route proposals were inadequate and has asked the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to reconsider the fundamental need for the line in light of changed conditions, our best course of action on this project is to await the PUC’s review of ERCOT’s recommendation."
The PUC has requested from ERCOT a re-evaluation of the need for the project, which ERCOT has termed a "priority project." The PUC is asking ERCOT if it is needed at all. ERCOT oversees the electric grid for about 85 percent of the state.
The transmission lines developed through CREZ are intended to increase reliability of the ERCOT grid and increase the transfer of wind and other power into various parts of the state. Several other transmission service providers also will build CREZ lines totaling about 2,400 miles.
For more information about CREZ-related projects, see http://www.lcra.org/crez.
About LCRA TSC
LCRA Transmission Services Corporation is a nonprofit corporation created by LCRA to build, own, and operate transmission lines and related facilities throughout Texas. LCRA TSC owns and leases about 4,400 miles of transmission lines and other facilities that are part of the state’s electric grid. LCRA TSC pays local and state taxes.
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is a nonprofit conservation and reclamation district that provides energy, water, and community services to Texans. Created by the Texas Legislature in 1934, LCRA has no taxing authority and operates solely on utility revenues and service fees. LCRA supplies electricity to more than 1.1 million Texans through more than 40 wholesale customers. LCRA also provides many other services in the region. These services include managing floods, protecting the quality of the lower Colorado River and its tributaries, providing parks and recreational facilities, offering economic development assistance, operating water and wastewater utilities, and providing soil, energy, and water conservation programs.