Xcel Energy improves eastern Texas Panhandle transmission

AMARILLO, Texas - AMARILLO, Texas – Xcel Energy is spending $108.9 million on high-voltage transmission line projects to boost reliability and capacity in the eastern and northeastern Texas Panhandle, where growing economic activity has driven up the demand for electrical power.

“Some of the infrastructure in this area has served us well for 50 years, but the demands of a booming energy economy are overworking a system that was built to handle much less,” said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. “As part of our Power for the Plains transmission expansion initiative, these projects will alleviate that strain and help position the region for economic growth for years to come.”

These and other transmission enhancement projects across the region were identified as necessary improvements in a 2010 study by the Southwest Power Pool SPP, the regional transmission organization that coordinates reliability on the transmission system serving portions of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.

SPP identifies areas of improvement and issues notices to construct. Xcel Energy’s policy is to accept these notices to build and own new lines within its existing transmission footprint.

Xcel Energy’s Southwestern Public Service Company subsidiary serves close to 100 communities in the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas and eastern and southeastern New Mexico. The company’s transmission system reaches even farther, taking in the Oklahoma Panhandle and portions of southwestern Kansas. By 2015, the company will spend more than $2 billion upgrading generation, transmission and distribution facilities in almost every part of this area.

Maps and additional details and about Xcel Energy’s Texas and New Mexico transmission expansion plans can be found at at the link below.

Completed and planned upgrades in the northeastern and eastern Texas Panhandle include:

• Hitchland-to-Ochiltree 230-kilovolt transmission line – This line runs 38 miles between the existing Hitchland Substation located in the north-central Texas Panhandle region and the new Ochiltree County Substation near Perryton. The existing 115-kilovolt lines between Perryton, Cole and Texas Farms substations have been reconfigured and routed through the new Ochiltree County Substation. The new 230-kilovolt line provides a stronger transmission source to the Perryton area and improves reliability on the existing 115-kilovolt transmission system.

• Hitchland-to-Woodward 345-kilovolt transmission line – Xcel Energy and Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company OG&E, are constructing a new 345-kilovolt double-circuit transmission line from Xcel Energy’s Hitchland Substation in Hansford County, just north of Gruver, Texas, to an OG&E substation near Woodward, Oklahoma. The approximately 120-mile transmission line will provide another transmission interconnection point to the eastern electric transmission grid. Construction started April 1. The interconnection with OG&E is expected to take place in February 2014.

• Ochiltree-to-Lipscomb 115-kilovolt transmission line – This project involves the construction of 20 miles of new transmission in Ochiltree and Lipscomb counties. The line will connect the existing Ochiltree County Substation north of Perryton to a new substation east of Booker. The project also includes a new connection to the existing Wade Substation located between the Ochiltree County Substation and the new substation near Booker.

The project will improve reliability of Xcel Energy’s existing system in Ochiltree and Lipscomb counties and will allow new load on the system in the Perryton and Booker areas. The line will also mitigate low voltage and overload conditions should the Hitchland-to-Ochiltree 230 kilovolt line go out of service. The project also includes a capacity upgrade at the Booker substation to allow for future load growth. An existing 50-year-old line segment between Perryton and Booker will be removed as part of this project. Construction will start in late 2014, and the line is expected to be in service in December 2015.

• Bowers-to-Howard 115-kilovolt transmission line – This line will enhance electric reliability to the existing and growing loads in Gray and Wheeler counties. The estimated 38-mile transmission line will run between the existing Bowers Substation, three miles west of Lefors and a mile north of FM 2375 in Gray County, and the existing Howard Substation, near the intersection of FM 2473 and South Osage Street in Wheeler. The Public Utility Commission of Texas PUCT gave final approval for the line on June 19. The company is expecting to have the line in service in 2014.


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