Gilman line

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Gilman to Avon Transmission Line

To create a secure service for tomorrow, Holy Cross Energy (HCE) has applied to the United States Forest Service (USFS) for a new 115-kV transmission line to connect the Xcel-owned Gilman and Avon electrical substations. This line will increase the resilience and dependability of electrical service for all HCE and Xcel Energy customers in the Upper Eagle and Gore valleys.

Need

A comprehensive risk assessment identified the gap between the two substations as the most vulnerable weakness in our existing system throughout the Eagle and Gore valleys. Although HCE is the applicant, this is a partnership between HCE and Xcel Energy.  Xcel Energy owns and operates the Gilman and Avon substations and HCE will own the transmission line connecting the two substations.

Route

The current proposed 8.65-mile route leaves the Gilman substation and follows the existing Xcel Energy distribution power lines to the Eagle River and eventually to Dowd Junction on I-70, primarily staying just above the railroad tracks east of the river.  Near Dowd Junction, the proposed line crosses Highway 24 and follows the existing HCE lines to the Avon substation.

NEPA

The current proposed 8.65-mile route leaves the Gilman substation and follows the existing Xcel Energy distribution power lines to the Eagle River and eventually to Dowd Junction on I-70, primarily staying just above the railroad tracks east of the river.  Near Dowd Junction, the proposed line crosses Highway 24 and follows the existing HCE lines to the Avon substation.

Undergrounding
  • Because HCE recognizes that this line will impact the viewshed of many Minturn residences and businesses, we have offered to bury 1 & ¾ miles of the line through the core of Minturn. Unfortunately, undergrounding transmission lines in our rural environment can be prohibitively expensive. An estimate of burying costs and distances follows:
    • $22M (1 & ¾ mile underground)
    • $29M (3 miles underground)
    • $40M (5 miles underground)
Enhancement

HCE has also asked both the Town of Minturn and its Advisory Committee if there are other projects that HCE could help with to make the T-line feel less burdensome. Some of these ideas thus far include:
o New expanded bike path
o Minturn Rec Center
o Provide fiber to the curb
o Solar Array at the Eagle Mine Superfund Site
o Burying existing distribution, phone and cable lines in town

Line and Poles

The typical pole height would range 40’ to 65’ above ground level. On occasion some poles may be 70’ in height depending on the terrain. The pole color will blend with the surrounding landscape.  Typically, there are four cables strung from pole to pole.

Right of Way

Typical right of way for this voltage and structure type is between 50’ and 100’ depending on the terrain, structure height and span length. Trees that could collide with the conductor lines and poles will be removed to address safety issues and fire hazards. Shrubs, forbs and grasses will remain. The edges of the right of way will be “feathered” to reduce the straight edge visual appearance.

PUBLIC CONCERNS
  • Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) – EMFs are present anytime electricity is being used. Common household appliances, as well as electronics all emit some level of EMF.  The level of EMF drops drastically with distance.  Therefore, the level of measurable EMF is typically much greater in the home due to the proximity of EMF sources, than the exposure to distribution or transmission lines.
  • Fire risk – Transmission lines are constructed to higher standards for reliability and resilience than distribution lines. They do not have additional equipment installed on them (voltage transformers, etc.), so they are a very clean structure with few parts to spark, fail or malfunction.  Because transmission lines required greater clearance above the ground, the poles are typically taller and thus farther from fuel sources.
  • Fires can start at transmission lines or substations for a variety of reasons. These fires are much more likely to start along small transmission and distribution lines due to the shorter distance from conductors to the ground, and because the conductor phases are closer together. *
* Sunrise Powerlink Project ATTACHMENT 1A TO ALTERNATIVES …

Sunrise Powerlink Project ATTACHMENT 1A TO ALTERNATIVES SCREENING REPORT EFFECT OF WILDFIRES ON TRANSMISSION LINE RELIABILITY Draft EIR/EIS 1A-1 January 2008 Attachment 1A: Effect of Wildfires on Transmission Line Reliability Collocation of Transmission Alternatives with the Southwest Powerlink

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/deir/apps/a01/App%201%20ASR%20z_Attm%201A-Fire%20Report.pdf

Would you like to submit a formal comment?

Your feedback is an important part of the process and ensures your voice is heard. The NEPA process is only successful if community members get involved, share their opinions and voice their concerns. All comments will be submitted as part of the NEPA process

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