Austin, Texas [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) has chosen to pursue a transmission scenario that will eventually transmit a total of 18,456 megawatts (MW) of wind power from West Texas and the Panhandle region to metropolitan areas of the state.
The plan selected by the PUC is estimated to cost US $4.93 billion, or approximately US $4.00 per month per residential customer, once construction is complete and costs are reflected in rates. It is expected that the new lines will be in service within four to five years.
Earlier this year, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the agency that oversees the state’s electric grid, responded to a PUC order to provide several scenarios to the commission. The four scenarios contained a total of 12,053, 18,456, 24,859, and 24,419 MW of installed wind generation distributed among five Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZs) in West Texas and the Texas Panhandle.
“With its decision to approve new, large investments in transmission lines for renewable energy, Texas is not only ensuring that consumers will reap the benefits of more wind power, it is also showing the way forward for the nation,” said Randall Swisher, Executive Director of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “We need to improve the way the nation plans for transmission lines, both to increase electric system reliability and to tap our vast wind resource. Texas is pioneering a way to that by establishing ‘Competitive Renewable Energy Zones’ that identify corridors where transmission can be built and ways in which the lines will be funded.”