Pattern Energy advances major power line project in Louisiana, Mississippi

Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) on Dec. 19 announced that an affiliate is pursuing the Southern Cross Transmission project, which would provide significant economic benefits to the project areas within Louisiana and Mississippi.

That includes $3.9 billion in total direct, indirect, induced and fiscal economic impact, according to a study conducted by Moss Adams LLP. The Moss Adams study found the Southern Cross Transmission project would provide the following impact to Louisiana and Mississippi:

  • Produce nearly $1.5 billion of direct economic impact from expenditures incurred in development and construction;
  • Generate $633 million of direct economic impact in local operations and maintenance expenditures over the first 30-year analysis period of the project;
  • Produce $1.4 billion in indirect and induced impact;
  • Generate $441 million in fiscal impact via property taxes across the two states over the first 30-year analysis period of the project;
  • Create more than 650 jobs throughout the project’s construction and continued operation; and
  • Benefit electricity consumers with reduced annual wholesale electricity cost.

"The Southern Cross Transmission project would be the only project to connect low-cost renewable energy in Texas to the Southeast while also creating jobs and generating strong economic impact in both the southern states and Texas," said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development. "The Southern Cross project will be one of the nation’s first overhead HVDC transmission lines constructed in nearly two decades. When complete, the project will provide significant reliability and economic benefits by connecting two robust systems. All of the capital investment required for the project is being provided by private investors."

The Southern Cross Transmission project is a ±500 kilovolt high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line with a base load capacity of 2,000 MW (delivered in either direction after losses) that will link cost-competitive wind energy in Texas to the transmission grid and customers in the Southeast U.S. The project is expected to start construction in 2018 and begin delivering power in 2021.

Pattern Development noted that it has extensive experience in developing innovative solutions to complex transmission problems. Pattern Development’s team of transmission experts has developed previous transmission projects, including the Trans Bay Cable project under San Francisco Bay. The Trans Bay Cable project is a submarine HVDC transmission line that was completed in 2010 and is presently serving up to 40% of San Francisco’s and the northern peninsula’s peak energy needs.

Pattern Development’s highly-experienced team has developed, financed and placed into operation more than 4,500 MW of wind and solar power projects. Pattern Development has offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, New York, Toronto, Santiago, Chile, and Tokyo, Japan.

In 2014, the Southern Cross Project was granted both a 210 and 211 order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission which described the need for the project as being in the public interest and the benefits of the project. The Southern Cross Project proposes to construct the following facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi:

  • A high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) converter station to be located in Northwest Louisiana;
  • Approximately 400 miles of HVDC transmission lines to be constructed across Louisiana and Mississippi;
  • A HVDC Converter Station to be located in Northeast Mississippi.

The project is planned to interconnect with the ERCOT portion of the electrical grid in Texas via the Rusk to Panola Transmission Line Project near the Western HVDC Converter Station and with the Southeast electrical grid near the Eastern HVDC Converter Station. The project will provide bi-directional power flow capability, which allows each region to either import or export power based on need or relative power price in the regions served.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.