AUSTIN, Texas, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) on March 27 unanimously approved an application by Electric Transmission Texas, LLC (ETT) and Sharyland Utilities, L.P. (Sharyland) to build a 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from a substation northwest of the city of Edinburg to a substation located east of the city of Brownsville. The cost of the project is estimated to total $309 million and is expected to be completed during the summer of 2016.
The PUCT commissioners approved construction of the new approximately 96-mile line that would extend from the existing AEP Texas Central Company North Edinburg Substation to the existing Brownsville Public Utilities Board Loma Alta Substation located near the Brownsville Ship Channel. The western half of the line will be constructed, owned and operated by ETT, while the eastern half will be constructed and operated by Sharyland Utilities, L.P. The midpoint is approximately one mile east of the Hidalgo/ Cameron county line.
The approved route runs generally east from the North Edinburg Substation and, after approximately 7.5 miles, turns south continuing past the city of Donna. Approximately 2 miles north of U.S. Highway 281, the route turns east, roughly paralleling the north side of U.S. Highway 281 until the city of Rangerville, where it turns north-northeast toward the city of San Benito. It then continues east around the northern and eastern sides of Brownsville, ultimately terminating at the Loma Alta Substation.
"When we first filed our joint application in July 2013, we emphasized that this transmission line is needed to ensure continued reliable electric service for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which is forecast to have continued electrical demand growth," said ETT President Calvin Crowder. "The need has grown since that time, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has determined this project is critical for the reliability of the ERCOT system and, specifically, the Brownsville area.""This project will not only improve both the reliability and stability of the grid in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, it also will provide a real engine for economic growth in communities throughout the region," said Sharyland President Mark Caskey. "A reliable, large-scale source of electric power is absolutely critical in attracting new investment and economic development, especially for communities like Brownsville." ERCOT endorsed the project in January 2012. Since that time, ETT and Sharyland have worked with an experienced routing consultant to perform an environmental assessment and routing analysis for the proposed transmission line. In addition, public input was gathered at jointly hosted public open houses in October 2012 and February 2013. The application was filed in July 2013 under PUCT Docket No. 41606 – Joint Application of Electric Transmission Texas, LLC and Sharyland Utilities, L.P. to Amend Their Certificates of Convenience and Necessity for the Proposed North Edinburg to Loma Alta Double-Circuit 345 kV Transmission Line in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, Texas. More information can be found at www.crossvalleyproject.com. About Electric Transmission Texas, LLC ETT is a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. The joint venture acquires, constructs, owns and operates transmission facilities within ERCOT, primarily in and around the AEP Texas Central Company and AEP Texas North Company service territories. More information about ETT can be found at www.ettexas.com. AEP, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5.3 million customers in 11 states. AEP ( www.aep.com) has extensive experience building extra-high-voltage 765-kV transmission lines and owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes 2,100 miles of 765-kV transmission lines, more than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. With its roots in renewable energy, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company is a $70 billion portfolio of locally managed businesses that share a vision for the energy future and make steady, sustainable investments to get there. These businesses – PacifiCorp, which includes Pacific Power, Rocky Mountain Power and PacifiCorp Energy; MidAmerican Energy Company; NV Energy, which includes Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company; Northern Powergrid Holdings Company, which includes Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Limited and Northern Powergrid ( Yorkshire) plc; Northern Natural Gas Company; Kern River Gas Transmission Company; MidAmerican Renewables, LLC; MidAmerican Transmission, LLC; and CalEnergy Philippines – deliver safe, reliable service each day to more than 8.4 million electric and gas customers around the world and consistently rank high among energy companies in customer satisfaction. MidAmerican is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. Learn more at www.midamerican.com. About Sharyland Utilities, L.P. Sharyland is a Texas-based public electric utility that is fully regulated by the PUCT. Its corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, and Sharyland currently serves approximately 50,000 customers in 29 counties throughout Texas. Sharyland is privately-owned by Hunter L. Hunt and other members of the family of Ray L. Hunt, and is managed by Hunter L. Hunt. For more information, please visit www.sharyland.com. SOURCE American Electric Power
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