Pattern Energy Group said Dec. 19 that FERC has ordered the city of Garland, Texas, and its municipal-owned utility, Garland Power & Light to interconnect Pattern Energy’s Southern Cross transmission project with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
The order also directs Texas transmission providers to provide transmission service into and out of ERCOT, and contained a disclaimer of jurisdiction by FERC, ensuring the continued status quo of all transmission providers and entities within ERCOT as generally exempt from FERC regulation. Pattern Energy said FERC’s confirmation of the disclaimer of jurisdiction represents a regulatory milestone in the project’s development.
FERC will finalize the order upon completion of the interconnection studies and final definition of the necessary interconnection facilities.
Pattern Energy also said that in another order, FERC granted Pattern Energy the authority to sell transmission service on Southern Cross at negotiated rates, and detailed provisions for subscribing anchor tenants and holding an open season as a participant-funded transmission project. The order allows Pattern Energy, through its wholly owned subsidiary Southern Cross Transmission, to start anchor tenant negotiations with interested shippers immediately.
“Southern Cross is an innovative transmission project that will create new jobs, while generating investment and economic development in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi,” Pattern Energy CEO Mike Garland said in the statement. “The project, which will provide the southeast United States with the opportunity to access affordable renewable energy, will also provide significant reliability benefits to both regions by connecting two robust systems and allowing sharing of resources.”
According to the project’s website, Pattern Energy is developing the project to add a high voltage direct current transmission tie between the Southeast and ERCOT to facilitate the further development of additional Texas wind projects by creating access to new markets, while allowing the Southeast to share in Texas’ wind resource.
The project has a capacity of up to 3,000 MW, and will be about 400 miles long. Its beginning point is at ERCOT Interconnection in East Texas, with an ending point at substations in northeast Mississippi. The power delivery date is scheduled for about 2016.