What is the Bailey to Jones Creek Project?
The Bailey to Jones Creek Project is a 345-kV double circuit electric transmission line proposed to be built by CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (CenterPoint Energy or the Company) between the Bailey Substation in Wharton County and the Jones Creek Substation in Brazoria County. The need for and route of the project is subject to approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC).
Why is the Bailey to Jones Creek Project needed?
Transmission lines are an essential part of the facilities necessary to deliver electricity to residents, businesses, and governmental entities throughout Texas. Economic growth in the Freeport area has led to a trend of large industrial facility additions in the area. To meet the growing demand for electricity, CenterPoint Energy completed projects in 2016 and 2017 to increase the load-carrying capacity of the transmission system in the Freeport area. However, as large industrial facilities continue to site in the Freeport area, the potential for existing transmission system capacity upgrades becomes limited. CenterPoint Energy and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) determined that a new transmission line is needed to maintain transmission grid reliability, provide for future load growth and provide operational flexibility to perform routine maintenance in the Freeport area.
Where will the Bailey to Jones Creek Project be located?
ERCOT designated CenterPoint Energy’s Bailey Substation in Wharton County and Jones Creek Substation in Brazoria County as the end-points for the new transmission line. The approved route passes through Brazoria, Matagorda and Wharton Counties and is approximately 55.5 miles in length.
Who is CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC?
CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (CenterPoint Energy or the Company) maintains the wires, towers, poles, and electric infrastructure serving more than two million end-use customers in a 5,000-square-mile electric service territory in the Houston metropolitan area. While the Company’s employees ensure the reliable delivery of electricity from power plants to homes and businesses, the Company neither generates nor sells it to customers. The Company is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than seven million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas. With nearly 14,000 employees, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years.
What is the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC)?
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) is the state agency created by the Texas Legislature to regulate the rates and services of electric, telecommunication and water utilities throughout the state.
What is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas?
ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers, representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT oversees activities related to the reliable and safe transmission of electricity by scheduling power on an electric grid that connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the PUC and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT's members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipally-owned electric utilities.
What are transmission lines?
Transmission lines are a part of the interconnected power system that moves electricity from generators to substations, where the electricity is reduced in voltage and then delivered to end-use consumers over the distribution system that connects to businesses and homes. Transmission lines are larger, operate at higher voltages, and typically convey electricity over larger distances. Distribution lines are smaller, operate at lower voltages, and convey electricity over shorter distances within cities and neighborhoods.
What are the considerations involved in selecting a route for the transmission line?
The PUC considers many factors in deciding whether to approve a proposed transmission line as prescribed by state law and PUC rules, including community values, recreational and park areas, historic and aesthetic values, and environmental integrity. They also consider specific routing criteria for new lines, including whether the route utilizes or parallels compatible rights-of-way such as following existing transmission lines, roads, pipelines, property lines, natural features, and cultural features. CenterPoint Energy provided information about these factors for each of the proposed alternative routes in its CCN application.
What type of structures will be used on the new transmission line?
CenterPoint Energy has proposed that the typical structures for all proposed alternative route segments will be double-circuit lattice steel towers with a vertical phase configuration in a 100-foot wide ROW. Depending on the terrain and other considerations, such as the length of span between structures and clearance requirements needed to cross rivers, wetland areas, FAA determinations or utility and roadway crossings, CenterPoint Energy may require wider ROW widths, varying structure heights, and alternative structure types, such as tubular steel poles. The PUC ordered double-circuit lattice steel towers to be the typical structure type in its Final Order.
What is the estimated schedule for the Bailey to Jones Creek Project?
CenterPoint Energy filed the CCN application for the project with the PUC on September 12, 2018. The PUC approved the project in its Final Order on November 21, 2019. The estimated schedule for the Project is as follows:
|Right-of-way and Land Acquisition
|Engineering and Design
|Material and Equipment Procurement
|Construction of Facilities
These dates are estimates and subject to change based on the time needed to complete right-of-way acquisition, detailed engineering design, and construction conditions.
What is the estimated cost of the project?
The cost estimate for the approved route, including upgrades at the Bailey and Jones Creek Substations, is approximately $482,968,000. This estimate reflects costs for line routing to mitigate impacts to people, the environment, and other land uses. The cost also reflects structure design to address soil and coastal wind conditions. Surveying and detailed engineering design activities could reveal information that requires changes in design and construction that would likewise impact costs. Additionally, changes in market conditions could change the costs for materials and labor beyond what has been accounted for in the estimates and contingency amounts.
How will CenterPoint Energy compensate landowners if it is necessary for the transmission line to cross their property?
CenterPoint Energy will make a bona fide offer to the landowner when purchasing right-of-way following the requirements of Texas law and will provide landowners with a copy of the State of Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights. In cases where the parties do not agree on the value of the property, the land value will be determined in a condemnation proceeding where special commissioners, appointed by a judge, will determine the value of the property following a hearing where all interested parties are entitled to provide evidence of valuation.