Electric Transmission Texas, LLC (ETT) has filed a request with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to build a 345-kV transmission line from Laredo into the Lower Rio Grande Valley, with a projected completion date of 2016. In October 2011, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) board determined the project is critical for the reliability of the ERCOT system and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

The line would connect an ETT substation near Laredo with a substation north of Edinburg. The estimated cost of the routing options ranges from US$265 million to $365 million. Costs associated with expanding the existing substations and adding two new substations along the line are estimated to be $75 million. The new line will cross portions of six counties and will be constructed on steel single-pole structures.

“The need for transmission improvements was reinforced during February 2011,” said ETT President Calvin Crowder. “Due to unusually cold weather and a significant lack of generation on the morning of Feb. 2, ERCOT called for a firm load shed across the grid, resulting in rolling outages throughout much of the state. After the resumption of normal activities, the Valley continued to face the possibility of outages due to severe weather. On the evening of Feb. 3, AEP Texas dropped 300 MW of load in the Valley as a result of the loss of a generator and transmission import limitations. ETT filed a request for ERCOT's support within 30 days following the storm and received the agency's endorsement that October.”

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