ERCOT recommends Texas utility regulators approve 163-mile, 345-kV transmission line proposed by AEP, MidAmerican Energy JV from Laredo area into Lower Rio Grande Valley; project estimated to cost US$300, be complete in 2016
September 20, 2011
– The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Board of Directors today endorsed and deemed "critical to reliability" a 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission project proposed by Electric Transmission Texas LLC (ETT) from the Laredo area into the Lower Rio Grande Valley. ETT is a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP - News) and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company.
ETT's proposed transmission project includes construction of approximately 163 miles of 345-kV transmission lines that will connect ETT's Lobo Substation near Laredo with substations north of Edinburg. The cost of the project is estimated at approximately $300 million. The ERCOT board recommendation also endorsed the need for AEP Texas to reconductor two existing 345-kv lines and upgrade substation facilities at an additional anticipated cost of $225 million.
"The endorsement from the ERCOT board clearly establishes the need for this transmission project and paves the way for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) application from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT)," said ETT President Calvin Crowder. "Currently, there are only two 345-kV transmission lines serving the Valley. Both of the existing lines import power from the Corpus Christi area and run parallel to the Gulf Coast, which means both are vulnerable to hurricanes and other severe weather. The import capacity of these lines is limited, and the ability to schedule maintenance often can be a problem."
The need for transmission improvements was reinforced during the February rolling outages throughout the state. On the morning of Feb. 2, ERCOT called for firm load to be shed across the grid. The AEP Texas share of the load shed was 380 MW. After the resumption of normal activities, the Valley continued to face the possibility of outages due to severe weather. On the evening of Feb. 3, AEP Texas shed 300 MW of load in the Valley as a result of the loss of a generator and transmission import limitations.
Construction of the line also should further improve transmission reliability in the Laredo area.
ETT anticipates filing a CCN application from the PUCT in 2012 with completion of the project envisioned for 2016. ETT will develop potential routes and conduct environmental studies prior to scheduling open houses to discuss the project with landowners.
ETT acquires, constructs, owns and operates transmission facilities within the ERCOT, primarily in and around the AEP Texas Central Company and AEP Texas North Company service territories.
AEP, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., delivering electricity to more than 5 million consumers in 11 states. AEP (www.aep.com) has extensive experience building extra-high-voltage 765-kV transmission lines and owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes 2,100 miles of 765-kV transmission lines, more than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (www.midamerican.com), based in Des Moines, Iowa, is a global provider of energy services to more than 6.9 million customers worldwide. MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company subsidiaries, PacifiCorp and MidAmerican Energy Company, own and operate more than 18,000 miles of electric transmission lines.