AEP, MidAmerican Joint
Venture Floats $4.2B Transmission Plan for Texas
Feb 27, 2007 NGI's Power Market
Electric Transmission Texas LLC (ETT),
a joint venture of American Electric Power and MidAmerican
Energy Holdings, wasted no time in coming up with
a massive new transmission plan for Texas to support
renewable energy development and load growth. The
plan includes more than $4.2 billion in new transmission,
including a 1,000-mile project that would support
development of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones
(CREZ) and a 900-mile, high-voltage, high-capacity
backbone transmission system that would support
reliability and growth.
"There is a critical need to expand
the Texas electric transmission grid," said Calvin
Crowder, ETT's executive director. "Our proposal
includes phased development of a high-voltage, high-capacity
transmission backbone for ERCOT [Electric Reliability
Council of Texas] that will allow Texas to capture
the long-term value of wind energy resources that
are located in remote areas of the state and quickly
interconnect those renewable resources to the load
centers in the south, central and north-central
parts of the state. Our proposal takes the process
to the next level by also outlining a 21st century
vision for the growth of the Texas transmission
The first two stages of the ambitious
proposal focus on ensuring transmission capability
to meet anticipated renewable energy needs. Stage
one would reinforce the ERCOT transmission grid,
providing access to 8 GW of existing and planned
renewable energy in north and central West Texas.
The $1.3 billion stage one project would be completed
in 2012. Stage two would support an additional 2
GW of renewable energy projects by 2015 at a cost
of $1.9 billion.
"The third stage of the proposal,
a visionary plan to establish an extra high-voltage
bulk power delivery system, is much longer-term
in scope and conceptual in nature," said Crowder.
"Planning must begin now, however, to ensure the
future viability of the ERCOT grid."
ETT submitted its plan through an
informational filing with the Public Utility Commission
of Texas (PUCT) the CREZ docket (No. 33672) on Tuesday.
The company also will file its long-range proposal
for consideration by ERCOT. ETT anticipates filing
more details of its plan with the PUCT in April
in accordance with the commission's timetable in
the CREZ proceeding. The PUCT is expected to release
decisions about the CREZ zones, including outlining
necessary transmission investment, in July 2007.
Definitive paths for the proposed
ETT projects have not been determined, and will
not be determined without ample opportunity for
public input, the company said. The long-range stage
of the proposal is "conceptual and could change
"The proposal is not exclusive; other
transmission developers will be welcome to participate,"
An AEP spokeswoman said the $1.5 billion
transmission project planned by Sharyland Utilities
to support renewable energy and other generation
in the Texas Panhandle region and West Texas actually
would complement ETT's plans (see Power Market Today,
"We want active participation and
an exchange of ideas with other entities in working
to refine this plan over the next several months,"
said Crowder. "The key for Texas is to develop a
comprehensive plan with collaboration to avoid transmission
constraints and costly overlap in transmission system
"Now that the renewable energy developers
have indicated the areas of Texas that they believe
offer the most potential for renewable energy development,
ETT's proposal will reliably link those areas with
load centers in the state. ETT can bring needed
transmission online quickly by employing the expertise
and capital of two transmission leaders."
In November, AEP and MidAmerican
announced plans to establish ETT (see Power Market
Today, Jan. 24). The company currently remains an
AEP subsidiary, but will become a joint venture
with MidAmerican upon regulatory approval and will
operate as a transmission utility under ERCOT rules.
An AEP subsidiary initially will act as project
manager for the transmission projects.
Additional information about the ETT
transmission proposal is available at http://www.aep.com/go/crez.
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