Xcel adding 115-kV facilities for two transmission projects in New Mexico

Xcel Energy expects to begin construction on a 41-mile, 115-kV transmission line in New Mexico in 2016 to improve transmission capacity in Eddy and Lea counties, the company said in a recent update on transmission activities in the state.

The estimated $40 million Livingston Ridge—Sage Brush—Cardinal 115-kV project involves about 41 miles of new line and two new substations — the Sage Brush and Cardinal substations that will be added in Lea County, east of Carlsbad, N.M.

The project involves two segments, a nearly 22-mile segment to connect the new Sage Brush substation, which will be 47 miles east of Carlsbad, with the new Cardinal substation farther east of Carlsbad. Construction work on that segment is expected to begin in 2016, Xcel said in its update.

The other segment includes the addition of almost 20 miles of 115-kV line from the existing Livingston Ridge substation in Eddy County to the Sage Brush substation, along with an expansion of the Livingston Ridge substation from 69-kV service to 115 kV.

Construction on the Livingston Ridge to Sage Brush segment of the project is expected to begin in 2017, an Xcel spokesperson told TransmissionHub Dec. 23.

The project is expected to be in service in 2018 to provide enhanced transmission capacity in the Livingston Ridge area and around the new substations and improve reliability in the area, Xcel said in a description of the project.

Construction work on a much shorter 115-kV line, near Eunice, N.M., is expected to be finished by the end of this month, Xcel noted in its update. The two-mile line will connect the Andrews substation on the border with Texas to the National Enrichment Facility substation, and the project includes the installation of a 230-kV/115-kV transformer and associated equipment at the Andrews substation.

While the line work is expected to be completed soon, the substation work is expected to be finished in April 2016, Xcel said. The estimated $14 million project, which will provide an additional source of power to the NEF substation, has a planned in-service date in April 2016.

Xcel also said that work on the 37-mile, 115-kV Curry to Bailey line is about 40 percent complete. The project will connect the existing Curry substation near Clovis, N.M., to the existing Bailey substation near Muleshoe, Texas, and expand the two substations, along with a relocation of half a mile of an existing 230-kV line near the Bailey substation.

The $36 million project is expected to be in service in September 2016, Xcel said.

The projects are all part of Xcel unit Southwestern Public Service’s “Power for the Plains” transmission expansion efforts, which include $1.6 billion in numerous projects in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma planned to begin service in the coming years. Many of the projects are being added in response to industrial demand growth and to improve access to markets for renewable generation facilities, Xcel said.

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