News | October 29, 2012

Xcel Energy Boosts Transmission In NW Texas Panhandle

More than $90M in new and upgraded transmission lines now in service

Amarillo, TX - Xcel Energy has spent $93.3M completing high-voltage transmission line projects that are boosting reliability and capacity in the northwestern counties of the Texas Panhandle, where local communities and industries had outgrown the existing transmission infrastructure.

“We’ve seen tremendous economic growth in Dalhart, Dumas, Stratford and neighboring communities where local economies are being lifted by agriculture and energy-related industries,” said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. “The upgrades will allow these industries and the communities that sustain them to continue expanding as they take advantage of reliable, plentiful and low-cost power.”

These and other transmission enhancement projects across the region were identified as necessary improvements in a 2010 study by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional transmission organization that coordinates reliability on the transmission system serving portions of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.

SPP identifies areas of improvement and issues notices to construct. Xcel Energy’s policy is to accept these notices to build and own new lines within its existing transmission footprint.

Xcel Energy’s Southwestern Public Service Company subsidiary serves close to 100 communities in the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas and eastern and southeastern New Mexico. The company’s transmission system reaches even farther, taking in the Oklahoma Panhandle and portions of southwestern Kansas. The company will spend more than $2B upgrading generation, transmission and distribution facilities in almost every part of this area.

Northwestern Texas Panhandle upgrades include:

• A new 230-kilovolt transmission line made up of two segments with a combined length of 75 miles. The new line provides sustained reliable electric service to the growing load base of Channing, and the surrounding rural areas between Channing and the communities of Dalhart and Dumas. The line also improves transmission reliability and capacity to Dallam, Hartley and Moore counties. Segment I runs between the Dallam County Substation, northwest of the city of Dalhart, and the Channing Substation near Channing. Segment II runs between the Channing and Potter County Substations north of Amarillo. The two segments are constructed at 230 kilovolts but will initially be operated at 115 kilovolts.

• A new Dallam-to-Sherman-to-Hitchland 115 kilovolt transmission line enhances electric reliability to the existing and growing loads in Dallam and Sherman counties. Over the last eight years, the electrical load in the area has increased by nearly 24 percent, with an average annual load growth rate of 2.78 percent. The line, which runs between the Dallam County Substation, northwest of the city of Dalhart, and the Sherman County Substation, near the city of Stratford, provides an alternate electric transmission source to the communities of Dalhart and Stratford and provides additional transmission capacity supporting backup transmission services in Hartley and Moore counties.

• The recently completed Hitchland-to-Moore 230-kilovolt transmission line that serves load growth in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle areas. The route runs 62 miles between the Hitchland Substation in the north-central Texas Panhandle area to the Moore County Substation near Dumas. This line is improving electric reliability in the area by providing a second 230-kilovolt source to the Moore County Substation. Additionally, the line supplements the operation of the 345-kilovolt transmission line that connects the Potter County and Hitchland substations.

Maps and additional details and about Xcel Energy’s Texas and New Mexico transmission expansion plans can be found at www.powerfortheplains.com.

SOURCE: Xcel Energy