Xcel Energy completes New Mexico-Texas power link

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) has energized a new high-voltage transmission line across the New Mexico-Texas state line that is supporting a growing economy in eastern New Mexico and West Texas, company announced Oct. 6.

The new Curry-to-Bailey 115-kV transmission line cost approximately $38m and spans more than 37 miles between the Curry County Substation east of Clovis, New Mexico, to the Bailey County Substation south of Muleshoe, Texas.

A Certificate of Convenience and Necessity was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas in August 2014. The 115 kV line will be constructed of single pole steel structures. The structures will be 70 to 140 feet tall with a 70-foot right-of-way; the average span between structures will be 650 feet, according to an online summary by Xcel Energy.

 “Before this line was completed, we had only one 115-kilovolt line coming into the Bailey County Substation,” said Donnie TeBeest, Xcel Energy project manager. “An outage on that one line could cause reliability issues in the Bailey County and Muleshoe areas. The new line will improve system reliability in not only those areas but also in the Clovis area as customer load growth and new generation resources are added to the transmission grid in the region,” TeBeest said.

The line is the result of a Southwest Power Pool study that identified a need for a stronger transmission link in the area, based on power demand growth and grid reliability needs. The line is one of dozens of new projects that make up Xcel Energy’s Power for the Plains multibillion-dollar grid improvement initiative.

Power for the Plains is a $1.6bn expansion plan in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

The next project scheduled for completion is the Atoka-Eagle Creek 115 kV transmission line project that is also scheduled for completion this fall. The $21m project consists of about 25 miles of new 115 kV transmission line between the Atoka Substation about three miles southwest of Atoka, New Mexico and the Eagle Creek Substation located approximately one mile northeast of Artesia, New Mexico.

Transmission lines move electricity from power generating sources into load centers such as towns and industrial areas. At the substations, transformers lower the voltage before power is sent down lines in the streets and alleys for distribution to customers.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.