Xcel Energy is in the final stages of upgrading a north Amarillo high-voltage transmission line. This caps a multiyear “Power for the Plains”, a US$1.6 billion transmission expansion plan in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. [Engerati – Power Improvements Come To Texas Plains.]
The Amarillo projects, falling under the plan, involve the improvement in power reliability and capacity of the delivery system which transmits electricity to the northern and eastern parts of the city.
Reliable transmission network
The Amarillo projects were identified and ordered as necessary improvements in a 2010 study by the Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission organization that coordinates reliability on the transmission system serving portions of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.
The new, US$3.5 million line is an upgrade of an existing transmission line from 69kV to 115kV. The original line, roughly 8km (5 miles) in length, ran from the East Plant Substation near Grand Street and N.E. Third Avenue to the Hastings Substation on Hastings Avenue at Broadway Drive. The upgraded line follows the same path but now terminates, by way of Hastings, at the new Rolling Hills Substation on Cherry Street. Additionally, the East Plant Substation has been upgraded to accommodate 115kV service.
Last year the company invested more than US$20 million to build the new Rolling Hills Substation and a new 115kV line from Rolling Hills to the Hastings Substation near Broadway and Hastings. With the East Plant link complete, total new investment in the north and east Amarillo transmission network is approximately US$26 million.
"This project, along with the other Amarillo transmission enhancements, helps prevent and minimize outages by providing alternate routes for power to flow in the case of outages on the network," said David Hudson, president of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. "These lines also boost the long-term capacity of the system, which helps us meet the growing demand for electricity in north Amarillo and around the entire city."
Xcel Energy's Southwestern Public Service Company subsidiary serves 80 communities in the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas and 14 communities in eastern and southeastern New Mexico. The company's transmission system reaches even farther, taking in the Oklahoma Panhandle and portions of southwestern Kansas.