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.