Noting that construction crews expanding the electric transmission infrastructure in southeast New Mexico and portions of Texas are having a busy year, Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) – in its April 19 “Power for the Plains Update” – said that about 90 miles of new transmission lines have been energized, while another 150 miles are expected to be complete by the end of 2018.
The work is part of the company’s Power for the Plains initiative to expand and update the electric grid, the company said.
Xcel Energy noted that as part of that initiative, it has invested in more than 800 miles of new transmission lines since 2011 in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. More than 700 additional miles of transmission line are planned to be built through 2021, the company said, adding that since 2011, more than 30 new substations have been built, while nearly 40 others have been upgraded. The company noted that another 27 substations will be built or upgraded through 2021, and that the transmission expansion represents more than a $3bn investment.
Discussing construction updates, the company said that work on converting the Kiowa-Roadrunner 230-kV transmission line to 345 kV is expected to be complete by the end of April.
The new 345-kV Hobbs-China Draw transmission line is scheduled to be serving customers in June, the company said, adding that the project links the Hobbs Plant substation, located about 11 miles northwest of Hobbs, with the new China Draw substation, located about 22 miles south of Carlsbad.
Final approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission came last November for the last segment of the TUCO-Yoakum-Hobbs 345-kV project, Xcel said, adding that construction is underway in Texas. When complete in 2020, the line will run between the TUCO substation, about two miles north of Abernathy in Hale County, Texas, to the Hobbs substation, about 11 miles northwest of Hobbs, N.M., the company said.
Projects completed in 2018 are the:
- Four-mile, 115-kV Custer Mountain-Whitten project in New Mexico; in-service date: Jan. 24
- 24-mile, 115-kV Roswell Loop project in New Mexico; in-service date: Jan. 31
- 13-mile, 230-kV Wolfforth-Carlisle project in Texas; in-service date: March 27
- Eight-mile, 115-kV NE Hereford-La Plata project in Texas; in-service date: March 30
The company added that 17 miles out of 21 miles of the 115-kV Portales Loop project in New Mexico are complete (in-service date: March 3), while 23 miles out of 26 miles of the 115-kV Canyon West-Dawn-Panda-Deaf Smith project in Texas were complete on April 4. That project has an in-service date of Dec. 14.
The company added that projects under construction also include the:
- 42-mile, 345-kV Kiowa-Roadrunner project in New Mexico; in-service date: April 27
- 25-mile, 115-kV Atoka-Eagle Creek project in New Mexico; in-service date: May 1
- 86-mile, 345-kV Hobbs-China Draw project in New Mexico; in-service date: June 1
- 10-mile, 115-kV Roadrunner-Custer Mountain project in New Mexico; in-service date: June 1
- 168-mile, 345-kV TUCO-Yoakum-Hobbs project in New Mexico and Texas; in-service date: June 1, 2020
“We continue to see a lot of development in oil and gas production and processing, especially in southeast New Mexico,” Bryan Kauffman, Xcel Energy director of Business Customer Relations, said in the update. “Right now, most of the large requests are related to natural gas processing facilities. We expect to connect nearly ten of these facilities by the end of 2018.”
Xcel said that this year, it expects to hook up as much as 220 MW of new load in southeast New Mexico, and an additional 100 MW over the next couple of years – much of it from oil and gas production.
Among other things, Xcel said that it has launched a new Certified Site Program, to promote industrial growth within the communities it serves. The focus of the program is an online inventory of prime industrial locations that is complete with detailed site information a site selector will need when researching business expansions or relocations, the company said. A third party verifies key attributes, which helps speed the process and provides area communities a competitive advantage as they work to bring new businesses and jobs to the area, Xcel said, adding that a 9,600-acre industrial park in Hobbs is among the first to be added.