Strong agricultural demand and general economic growth in the Texas South Plains region centered on Plainview, Texas, has triggered a series of high-value capital improvement projects on the Xcel Energy system that will boost the reliability and capacity of the regional power grid.
As part of its Power for the Plains capital expansion, Xcel Energy is investing $106.7 million in new substations and high-voltage transmission lines in Hale, Castro, Parmer, Swisher, Bailey and Lamb counties that should be mostly completed by year's end.
'We continue to see strong agricultural demand as farmers and ranchers demand more electric power for irrigation purposes in this area,' said David Hudson, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. 'Our transmission and distribution system is much like our system of highways and city streets. As traffic increases - in our case, electricity demand - we have to update and expand the lines that transport power to a growing customer base.'
The Plainview-area growth follows the trend of growth Xcel Energy is experiencing in almost all of its Texas-New Mexico service area, which covers most of the Panhandle-South Plains regions in Texas and the eastern and southeastern counties of New Mexico. In that area, Xcel Energy is investing more than $3 billion to build or upgrade power plants, power lines and substations.
'This is a historic growth cycle for us and our communities, and the investments we make today will help build the economies of our communities for years to come,' Hudson said.
In the Plainview area, Xcel Energy has built two new substations and has completed or is constructing several new transmission lines. These projects include:
- The new Newhart Substation five miles northeast of Hart, Texas
- A new 115-kilovolt line 18 miles in length connecting Newhart Substation to Kress Substation near Kress, Texas
- A new 115-kilovolt line 24 miles in length connecting Newhart Substation to Castro Substation, located about five miles southwest of Dimmitt, Texas
- The new Kiser Substation northeast of Plainview
- A new 115-kilovolt line 8.7 miles in length connecting Kiser Substation to Cox Substation, located east of Plainview
Projects now under construction or being planned include:
- A new 115-kilovolt transmission line from Newhart to the Hart Industrial and Lamton substations in Castro and Lamb counties, respectively
- A new 230-kilovolt transmission line from Newhart to Swisher County Substation
- A new 115-kilovolt transmission line connecting Kiser Substation to Kress Substation
In addition to these substation and transmission investments, Xcel Energy is investing in new and upgraded distribution lines that deliver power directly to homes, farms and businesses in the region.
All the Plainview-area projects were identified as critical improvements in studies by the Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission organization responsible for grid reliability across portions of eight south-central states, including the Xcel Energy Texas-New Mexico service area. Details and maps of these projects can be found at www.powerfortheplains.com.
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.5 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.