Texas Approves US $5B for Transmission

In 2006 Texas overtook California to lead the nation in installed wind power generating capcity. Now, just three years later, wind turbines generating 8005-megawatts (MW), more than all the turbines spinning in California, Iowa and Minnesota, have outstripped the capacity of the high-voltage grid to move the power from windy west Texas to major cities where it’s needed.

But, after a year of laying the groundwork to plan for as much as 18,500-megawatts of wind power, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) handed out rights last week to construct US $5 billion in new transmission lines. West Texas and the Panhandle are the epicenter of wind development – not only in the State, but also the nation.

“We have taken a big step to deliver more wind power to Texas electric customers,” PUCT Chairman Barry Smitherman said after the decision was reached.

The PUCT could hand out up to nine contracts as part of this decision. The amount of moeny awarked under the seven deals that have been reached so far is listed below.

  • Oncor: $1.34 billion
  • Electric Transmission Texas: $789 million
  • Lower Colorado River Authority: $750 million
  • Lone Star Transmission: $564 million
  • Wind Energy Transmission Texas: $402 million
  • Sharyland Utilities: $394 million
  • Cross Texas Transmission: $390 million
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