Atkins recently completed its final environmental submissions to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) as part of an effort to facilitate the approval and construction of new transmission lines that will help deliver wind power from west Texas to other areas of the state.
Under the competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ) program, eight transmission service providers have been authorized to construct 46 new electric transmission lines (most at 345 kV) to deliver wind energy from rural areas to urban centers in Texas. CREZ projects are expected to increase the state's wind generation capacity to 18,456 MW.
Atkins supported five of the eight transmission service providers (Electric Transmission Texas LLC, LCRA Transmission Services Corp., Oncor, Sharyland Utilities and South Texas Electric Cooperative). The company conducted the environmental assessments and alternative route analyses for 23 of the 46 planned electric transmission lines.
Atkins conducted routing studies that mapped potential constraints – such as residences, airports, parks and the known locations of endangered and threatened species – while also identifying existing power lines, roadways, pipelines and other infrastructure offering a right of way that could be utilized.
Atkins then conducted an environmental assessment to evaluate such factors as current land uses, ecological and archaeological characteristics, and aesthetic impacts before recommending several possible routes.