PUCT: Texas’ $6.87bn CREZ program to complete 32 transmission lines by year-end

The Texas competitive renewable energy zone (CREZ) program is expected to finish on time, leaving 96 projects, including 32 transmission lines, to complete construction by Dec. 31, according to the Public Utilities Commission of Texas‘ (PUCT) 4Q12 report released in January.

The CREZ program is projected to draw to a close 3% under the baseline budget of $7.05bn. The program’s current total estimate is $6.87bn, unchanged from the 3Q12 quarterly estimate. The 4Q12 report is based on data submitted to the PUCT through Jan. 15, and was submitted to the PUCT on Jan. 25. As of Dec. 31, 2012, the 10 companies constructing the CREZ projects had spent $4.83bn of the $6.87bn.

The CREZ program comprises 186 projects representing 3,593 miles, of which 1,751 have been completed. As originally conceived in 2008, the program was to comprise 109 projects representing 2,963 miles, for a total cost of $4.97bn.

Of the 186 projects, 75 have been completed, 96 are active, and 15 have been canceled. Fourteen projects were completed in the last quarter of 2012.

The PUCT noted that the per-mile unit costs used to calculate the project costs were in 2008 dollars and did not appear to have been escalated through to 2013, so the final costs for the CREZ program may be higher when adjusted for inflation and the value of the dollar in 2013.

“Typical escalation factors applied to multi-year projects run between 1% to 2.5% per year,” the PUCT said.

The commission also noted that the schedule of project completion may be affected by the timing of transmission line outages.

“2013 will see the majority of the CREZ projects complete construction,” the PUCT said in the report. “Many of these projects will require one or more outages to either complete construction or to ‘tie in’ to the existing power grid. Because of this, there is the potential for project delays if a scheduled power outage is canceled due to unexpected high power demand on the system. This can be caused by abnormally hot or cold spring and fall temperatures.”

Such outages could have the cascading effect of delaying neighboring projects’ construction schedules, the PUCT said.

Cross Texas Transmission

Cross Texas Transmission‘s projects are projected to be under budget by 1%, and to finish before the CREZ program’s completion deadline of Dec. 31, the PUCT said.

Cross Texas Transmission, part of the LS Power Group, has spent $315.1m of its estimated investment of $427.3m. The company’s projects comprise 236 miles of line, of which 143 miles are complete.

Construction on the 85-mile Silverton to Tesla line is 39% complete. The line is estimated to cost $128.9m, with construction scheduled to complete on Sept. 1, and to enter service on Sept. 13.

Construction on the 109-mile Gray to Tesla line is 95% complete, and is scheduled to draw to a close on March 1. The line, which is expected to enter service on June 1, is in line with the baseline estimate of $169.8m.

The 42-mile Gray to White Deer line is 99% complete. Construction is scheduled to finish Feb. 15, with the line entering service on Sept. 1. The project is currently estimated at $70.6m, slightly lower than the baseline estimate of $77.1m.

Electric Transmission Texas

Like Cross Texas, Electric Transmission Texas‘s (ETT) projects are projected to be under budget by 1% and to be complete before Dec. 31. ETT is a joint venture between American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and MidAmerican Energy Holdings.

ETT has spent $1.07bn of its estimated investment of $1.53bn. The company’s projects comprise 643 miles of line, of which 220 miles are complete.

ETT’s 90-mile, 345-kV Clear Crossing to Dermott line is 70% complete. Construction began April 2, 2012, and is expected to complete March 30, with an in-service date of Sept. 1. The project’s current estimate is $189.2m, above the baseline estimate of $177.9m.

The 66-mile, 345-kV Tesla to Riley line is 63% complete and is on track with the baseline project estimate of $131.6m. Construction began May 14, 2012, and is scheduled to complete June 3. The project has an in-service date of June 30.

The 43-mile, 345-kV Riley to Edith Clarke line is 34% complete. Construction on the project began Aug. 20, 2012, and is scheduled to complete June 1, with an in-service date of June 15. The project is on track with its baseline project estimate of $91.8m.

The 89-mile, 345-kV Edith Clarke to Cottonwood line is 31% complete. Construction on the project began July 2, 2012, and is scheduled to complete Nov. 1, with an in-service date of Nov. 15. The project is on track with its baseline project estimate of $163.8m.

The 55-mile, 345-kV Tesla to Edith Clarke line is 38% complete. Construction began July 9, 2012, and is scheduled to complete June 1. The project has an in-service date of June 15 and is on track with its baseline project estimate of $104.4m.

The 84-mile, 345-kV Edith Clarke to Clear Crossing line is 31% complete. Construction began July 30, 2012, and is scheduled to compete June 15. The project has an in-service date of Sept. 25. The project is on track with its baseline project estimate of $168.6m.

The 34-mile, 345-kV Clear Crossing to West Shackelford line is 7% complete. Construction began Nov. 5, 2012, and is expected to complete June 30. The project has an in-service date of Sept. 1 and is on track with its baseline project estimate of $72.1m.

Lower Colorado River Authority

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s (LCRA) total project cost is expected to be 16% below the baseline estimate of $689.2m, the PUCT said. All projects are expected to be complete by Dec. 31.

The LCRA has spent $444m of its total estimated investment of $579.9m. The company’s projects comprise 428 miles of line, of which 339 miles are complete.

The 139-mile, 345-kV Big Hill to Kendall line is 57% complete. Construction began Jan. 19, 2012, and the project is scheduled to be complete and enter service on Aug. 31. The project’s current estimate is $307.4m, under the $341m baseline estimate.

The 57-mile, 138-kV Kendall to Miller Creek to Paleface rebuild is 92% complete. Construction began Aug. 29, 2011, and is scheduled to complete Feb. 28. The project is expected to enter service March 31 and is currently estimated to cost $42.5m, above its baseline estimate of $33.2m.

Lone Star Transmission

Lone Star‘s project portfolio is expected to be 3% below the baseline cumulative estimate of $789.3m, the PUCT said. All projects are expected to be complete by Dec. 31.

The company has spent $652.1m of its total estimated investment of $768.9m. The company’s projects comprise 331 miles of line, of which 271 miles are complete. Lone Star is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE).

The 103-mile, 345-kV Scurry County South to West Shackelford line is scheduled to be energized March 31. Construction was finished Sept. 14, 2012. It was under budget at $161.1m, compared to the baseline project estimate of $194.4m.

The 192-mile, 345-kV West Shackelford to Navarro-Sam Switch line is 87% complete. Construction began Nov. 29, 2011, and is scheduled to complete Feb. 25. The line will enter service March 31, and is currently estimated at $406.9m, above the baseline estimate of $386m.

The 35-mile, 345-kV Sam Switch to Navarro line is scheduled to enter service March 31. The project was completed on July 31, 2012, for $58.8m, slightly over the baseline estimate of $55m.

Oncor Electric Delivery

Oncor‘s cumulative project portfolio is expected to be 1% below the baseline estimate of $1.93bn, the PUCT said. All projects are expected to be complete by Dec. 31.

Oncor has spent $1.44bn of its total estimated investment of $1.91bn. The company’s projects comprise 1,084 miles of line, of which 714 miles are complete.

The 110-mile, 345-kV Clear Crossing to Willow Creek line is 37% complete. Construction began Jan. 21, 2012, and is scheduled to be complete on Dec. 31, when the line is also expected to enter service. The project’s current estimate is on track with the baseline estimate of $163.3m.

The 163-mile, 345-kV Riley to West Krum line is 69% complete. Construction began Jan. 6, 2012. The project is scheduled to complete construction and enter service on June 30. Its current budget is $264.8m, more than $10m above its baseline estimate of $252.7.

The 70-mile, 345-kV West Krum to Anna line is 3% complete. Construction began Aug. 10, 2012. The project is scheduled to complete construction and enter service on Dec. 15. It is on track with its baseline estimate of $151.9m.

The 40-mile, 345-kV Willow Creek to Hicks line is 38% complete. The line is scheduled to be complete and enter service on June 30. Construction began on Feb. 6, 2012. The project has a current budget of $98.6m, over the baseline estimate of $88.4m.

Construction on the seven-mile, Killeen to Harker Heights project is 52% complete and is scheduled to finish construction and enter service on June 30. Oncor began construction on the line on Sept. 26, 2012. The project is in line with the baseline estimate of $6.5m.

Sharyland Utilities

Sharyland’s projects will complete less than 1% over the baseline project estimate of $634.1m, the PUCT said.

The company has spent $341.3m of its total estimated investment of $639.9m. The company’s projects comprise 295 miles of line, of which 38 miles are complete.

Construction on the 25-mile, 345-kV Nazareth to Hereford line is 24% complete, and is expected to finish on June 8. The line is scheduled to be energized July 20. The project’s current estimate is $37.3m, below the baseline estimate of $40.4m.

The 46-mile, 345-kV Nazareth to Silverton line is 42% complete, and is expected to finish construction May 9. The line is scheduled to enter service June 20 and is currently estimated to cost $66.6m, which is lower than the $74.8m baseline project estimate.

The 91-mile, 345-kV Hereford to White Deer line is 55% complete and is expected to complete construction on July 19. The line is scheduled to enter service on Aug. 30, and is in line with the baseline project estimate of $134.6m.

The 68-mile, 345-kV White Deer to Silverton line is 38% complete. Construction, which began on March 1, 2012, is scheduled to be complete on Oct. 14. The line is expected to enter service on Nov. 25. The line is currently budgeted at $159m, above its baseline estimate of $141.3m.

The 65-mile, 345-kV Silverton to Cottonwood line is 64% complete, and is scheduled to complete construction on Feb. 24. The line is expected to enter service April 7, and, with a current budget of $115.8m, is slightly over its baseline estimate of $113.3m.

South Texas Electric Coop.

All of South Texas Electric‘s projects are projected to finish on schedule and on budget, the PUCT said. The company has invested $78.2m of the total $238.2m estimate. The company’s projects comprise 188 miles of line, none of which is complete.

The 76-mile, 345-kV Odessa to Bakersfield line is scheduled to complete construction and enter service on Dec. 31. The project is in the process of right-of-way (ROW) acquisition and procurement, and is in line with the baseline estimate of $100.9m.

The 112-mile, 345-kV Bakersfield to Big Hill line is 37% complete, and is scheduled to complete construction and enter service on Aug. 31. The project is in line with the baseline estimate of $137.3m.

Wind Energy Transmission Texas

All of Wind Energy Transmission Texas‘s (WETT) projects are expected to complete on budget and to finish construction by Dec. 31, the PUCT said.

WETT has invested $461.2m of the total $749.7m estimate. The company’s projects comprise 374 miles of line, of which 12 miles are complete. WETT is a joint venture between Brookfield Asset Management and Isolux Corsan Concesiones.

Construction on both the 37-mile, 345-kV Sand Bluff to Divide line and the 29-mile, 345-kV Sand Bluff to Bearkat line is 5% complete. Both lines are scheduled to complete construction on May 15, and enter service the same day.

For both lines, right-of-way acquisition and clearing are 100% complete. Engineering is 90% complete on the Sand Bluff to Divide Line, and 100% complete on the Sand Bluff to Bearkat line. Foundation construction is underway on both, the PUCT said.

Both projects are in line with their respective baseline estimates. The Sand Bluff to Bearkat line is expected to cost $53.3m, and the Sand Bluff to Divide line is expected to cost $83.7m.

The 74-mile, 345-kV Cottonwood to Dermott line is 74% complete. The project, which is expected to complete construction and enter service on March 31, is in line with the baseline estimate of $141.6m.

Right-of-way acquisition and clearing, engineering and procurement are 100% complete, and tower erection is 90% complete.

Construction on the 55-mile, 345-kV Long Draw to Grelton line is 49% complete. The project is scheduled to complete construction and enter service on March 31.

ROW acquisition is 100% complete; procurement is underway; tower foundation is 76% complete; and tower erection is 49% complete.

The project is in line with the baseline estimate of $88.5m.

Construction on the Long Draw to Sand Bluff line is 5% complete. The project is scheduled to complete construction and enter service on May 15. It is in line with the baseline estimate of $118.1m.

ROW acquisition, ROW clearing and engineering are 100% complete; procurement is 75% complete; and foundation construction is 30% complete, according to the report.

Construction on the 50-mile, 345-kV Grelton to Odessa line is 10% complete. The project is scheduled to complete construction and enter service on March 31. Project cost is in line with the baseline estimate of $89.7m.

The company has completed ROW acquisition and tower foundation. Procurement is underway and tower erection is 88% complete.

Construction on the 51-mile, 345-kV Scurry South to Long Draw line is 49% complete. The project is expected to complete construction and enter service on March 31, and is in line with the baseline estimate of $96.4m.

The company has completed ROW acquisition. Foundations for monopoles and towers is 90% complete, and tower erection is 51% complete. Procurement is under way, according to the report.

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.