On July 8th, Texas PUC Chairman Smitherman filed his response to a letter from William Renfro, the Vice President/Director of Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment, Inc. (SOS Hill Country) a group that was formed in response to wind energy development activity in Gillespie County and surrounding counties. Mr. Refro’s letter requests that Chairman Smitherman take the leadership role in minimizing the impacts of the CREZ transmission lines. SOS Hill Country asks that Chairman Smitherman support the use of existing rights-of-way when LCRA submits its preferred and alternative routes. The group beleives that underground transmission lines be used in developed, populated, historical, and recreational areas.
The group also cites two precdents for the use of monopoles and requests that Chairman Smitherman ensure that LCRA retain the flexibility to use monopoles. The group states that it understands that LCRA already is in the process of ordering lattice tower materials for the projects and that LCRA likely will argue that the use of monopoles will not only increase costs but also will extend the schedule, particularly at later stages of the project.
SOS Hill Country also asks that Chairman Smitherman take into consideration the transmission structure-related resolutions that have been adopted by the County Commissioners in Gillespie, Kerr, and Kimble Counties; the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission; and the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Chairman Smitherman’s letters to SOS Hill Country and the other groups are form responses that review the statutory requirements and rules regarding the granting of a CCN and location of a route.