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Wind energy to flow down I-35  

Credit:  By Matthew Waller, Standard-Times, www.gosanangelo.com 2 January 2011 ~~

SAN ANGELO, Texas – The new year is set to bring miles and miles of transmission lines, running through parts of the Concho Valley and beyond.

One of the lines goes through counties northwest of Tom Green County, through Borden, Howard, Glasscock, Sterling and Coke counties, and is called the Long Draw to Sand Bluff, Sand Bluff to Divide, and Sand Bluff to Beark.

Wind Energy Transmission Texas LLC is in charge of building the transmission line.

“We’ve had a number of open houses, and we’ve sent letters and responded to (phone calls),” said Patsy Baynard, the WETT program director. “It’s a little smaller than our last filing by about 30 miles.”

The project will cost about $187.3 million and stretch about 123 miles, Baynard said.

The PUC has the final say in choosing a route. Often the preferred route isn’t selected, and the PUC can set a new route using different sections.

The Long Draw line won’t be chosen until May 10, and intervenors already have signed up.

There are dozens of requests for intervenors, said Terry Hadley, a spokesman for the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

“An intervenor can fully participate in the hearing process,” Hadley said.

Hadley said an intervenor can bring witnesses and present cases to the administrative law judge who holds the hearings before the case goes to the PUC commissioners, who then decide on a route.

McCamey D Line

Another line to look for is the McCamey-D-to-Kendall-to-Gillespie line, which is due to be decided this month. Hadley said there are two open meetings with PUC commissioners, on Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, at which the commissioners may give a decision.

Among the counties affected are Schleicher, Sutton, Kimble, Kerr, Kendall, Gillespie, Menard and Mason.

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s LCRA Transmission Services Corp. is in charge of building the line, and it held hearings and open house events to address issues from the effect of electromagnetic fields on nearby houses to the potential use of monopoles instead of more view-obstructing lattice towers.

The PUC held hearings Oct. 25 through Nov. 5.

“The hearing went very well, we thought,” said Robert Cullick, an LCRA spokesman. “We had about 100 people a day. There was a lot of information developed, and the process seemed to meet people’s expectations.”

On Dec. 16, an administrative law judge gave a recommendation to the PUC about which routes should be used.

The judge said almost no one wanted the lines over their property, and she said that monopoles are ultimately an option for the PUC commissioners to consider.

The McCamey D line may stretch 129 miles to 166 miles and cost about $367 million.

Hadley said about 1,100 people and entities filed as intervenors in the case.

The LCRA said the proposal submitted was, 2,500 pages, the largest it has ever prepared.

All the transmission line projects are part of Creative Renewable Energy Zone projects, where energy from places with a lot of wind is moved to population centers along the bustling I-35 corridor.

Source:  By Matthew Waller, Standard-Times, www.gosanangelo.com 2 January 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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