With final CREZ line energized, ETT turns focus to Rio Grande valley projects

Electric Transmission Texas (ETT), the joint venture between American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, has energized the final transmission line in its portfolio of transmission projects built under the Texas competitive renewable energy zone (CREZ) transmission initiative.

The company announced that it energized to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) on Dec. 4 the 89-mile, 345-kV Edith Clarke to Cottonwood transmission line, on which it had completed construction on Oct. 16.

The other six ETT projects include the 79-mile Edith Clarke to Clear Crossing line, energized  Oct. 22; the 90-mile Clear Crossing to Dermott line, energized Oct. 24; and the 34-mile Clear Crossing to West Shackelford line, energized on Nov. 13.

The remaining projects also include the 43-mile Riley to Edith Clarke line, energized in July; the 66-mile Tesla to Riley line, completed in June; and the 55-mile Tesla to Edith Clark project, completed in August 2013.

With regard to its just-completed role in the CREZ transmission projects, ETT was responsible for a total of 11 transmission lines and 25 associated facilities, and was the second largest CREZ project developer by dollars to be spent. All are 345-kV lines.

With that slate of projects complete, company officials said they would turn their attention to the projects planned and underway to serve growing demand in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

“We’ve already been approved to build a transmission line from Lobo into North Edinburg, and we’re got an application before the [Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT)] for a joint transmission project from North Edinburg to the area around the Port of Brownsville,” an ETT spokesperson told TransmissionHub Dec. 9.

The Lobo to Rio Bravo to North Edinburg project is a 156-mile, 345-kV transmission line that originates at Lobo and terminates in North Edinburg, Texas. The project, which is sponsored by ETT, will cost $318m and is expected to enter service in 2016.

“This truly is an example where the theme ‘teamwork and technology’ applies,” Calvin Crowder, ETT president, said in a statement announcing the completion of the final CREZ project.   “There were hundreds of employees and contractors from various companies and departments within the AEP organization working together to ensure that we completed these projects in advance of the 2013 year-end deadline set by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.” 

In addition to assigning ETT the second largest share of the transmission projects, the PUCT also assigned ETT the largest amount of advanced technology projects associated with the CREZ initiative, Crowder added. 

“Given that the ETT CREZ transmission projects are located in the center or ‘backbone’ of the area designated for development, ETT was charged with incorporating new technology that supports system stability as the power produced by wind generators in remote west Texas areas is carried long distances to the eastern areas of ERCOT,” he said.