CRA International, Inc. is preparing a study about the economic benefits if approximately 1,200 miles of extra-high voltage transmission are built in the Southwest Power Pool. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) manages the transmission system in all or part of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and east Texas outside of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The study, titled First Two Loops of SPP EHV Overlay Transmission Expansion, Analysis of Benefits and Costs, reveals the economic benefits of building the proposed extra-high voltage transmission in the region outweigh the costs. It was prepared for Electric Transmission America, LLC (a joint venture of subsidiaries of AEP and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company), Westar Energy and OGE Energy Corp.

The study evaluated a SPP proposal to build approximately 600 miles of 765-kV lines in western Kansas and Oklahoma by 2014 and another 600 miles of 765-kV transmission in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma by 2016. The study concluded that:

  • Building the projects would save approximately $2.8 billion in annual power supply costs throughout SPP by enabling development of more than 14,000 megawatts of renewable wind generation, which is enough to supply 20 percent of SPP’s electricity demand.
  • The 14,000 megawatts of renewable wind generation that would be produced would eliminate 30 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • $100 million in benefits would be realized by reducing line losses (electricity loss during transmission).
  • Construction of the wind generation and transmission lines would result in more than 10,000 construction jobs, 5,000 permanent jobs and more than $60 million per year in property taxes.
  • The transmission projects will provide net economic benefits of more than $600 million per year.