News | April 8, 2014

New Transmission Project To Deliver More Power To Houston Area

Austin, TX - A new electric transmission project will help support future electric reliability in the Houston region by increasing the capacity to deliver power to the area from other parts of the state. 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Board of Directors today voted to endorse the approximately $590M Houston Import Project and deemed the new construction portion of the project critical for reliability.

“This already is one of the most congested areas in the ERCOT grid,” said ERCOT Transmission Planning Manager Jeff Billo. “We have evaluated this concern from a variety of perspectives, and, under every scenario, this project is needed to support reliability in the region by summer 2018.”

The selected project will include:

  • Construction of a new double-circuit 345-kilovolt transmission line, spanning about 130 miles;
  • Upgrades to three substations to accommodate the new connections and additional capacity; and
  • Improvements to an existing line (about 11 miles) to increase its power rating.

In recent years, the Houston area has relied increasingly on power imports from other parts of the ERCOT grid to support its growing demands. Power plant retirements have outpaced new generation in the region by about 2,000 megawatts (MW) in the past decade, and transmission facilities that import power into the region are nearing their limits. In fact, these constraints already challenge flexibility and limit maintenance options, especially during periods when energy use is high in the Houston area.

The need for a new import path into Houston by summer 2018 was identified first in ERCOT’s 2008 Long-Term System Assessment.  In 2013, four transmission providers submitted three proposals for review by the Regional Planning Group, which comprises a variety of ERCOT stakeholders.  The project endorsed by the board today is based on proposals submitted by CenterPoint Energy, Cross Texas Transmission and Garland Power & Light. Today’s board vote followed an ERCOT independent review of the proposals and support of ERCOT staff’s recommendation in a vote by the Technical Advisory Committee in March.

Prior to construction, the project will be subject to additional review and approvals by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

SOURCE: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas

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