Cross Texas Transmission now has a clear route to run high-voltage electrical transmission lines between substations near Silverton and Childress.
“The process went pretty smoothly,” said Cameron Fredkin, CTT director of project development. “It did go to a hearing, but we reached a settlement with the intervenors.”
The route, one of several in the Panhandle intended to move wind energy downstate, should cost about $130 million, according to company estimates. It will be 85 miles long and about 160 feet wide as it runs down as many established rights of way as possible and around obstacles through Briscoe, Hall and Childress counties. A straight line between the substations would be about 73 miles.
The Public Utility Commission approved the route Thursday as part of the $5 billion Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project. Of that total statewide cost, transmission companies have projected up to almost $800 million in costs to build the segments in the Panhandle.
Ratepayers downstate will pay for the project.
One sticking point the negotiators had to overcome was the lines will cross the Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway that runs from just south of Estelline to near the community of South Plains. A route that avoided crossing that spot would add up to 21 miles of line and $30 million in costs, according to Cross Texas filings.
A compromise will have the company using single poles in the vicinity that have surfaces that weather, making them less conspicuous. The poles will be kept as far from the trail as possible.
The route will drop off the caprock near the Briscoe-Floyd county line and run east past Quitaque and Turkey, passing Childress before turning north. While part of the route is on level plains, other areas are more rugged.
“There will be some areas that are more challenging than others,” Fredkin said. “But our design and engineering teams believe they have solutions to work through them without much trouble.”
CTT plans to begin soon acquiring easements and permits and finalizing engineering and surveying, according to a company news release..
Construction should begin in late 2011 and finish in late 2013.