Xcel Energy construction crews expanding the electric transmission infrastructure in southeast New Mexico and portions of Texas are having a busy year. Approximately 90 miles of new transmission lines are complete and serving customers and another 150 miles are expected to be complete by the end of 2018.
The work is part of Xcel Energy‘s Power for the Plains initiative to expand and update the electric grid — improving electric reliability, meeting growing customer demand and providing an outlet for renewable energy at the lowest cost possible.
“We continue to see a lot of development in oil and gas production and processing, especially in southeast New Mexico,” said Bryan Kauffman, Xcel Energy director of Business Customer Relations. “Right now, most of the large requests are related to natural gas processing facilities. We expect to connect nearly ten of these facilities by the end of 2018.”
This year, Xcel Energy expects to hook up as much as 220 MW of new load in southeast New Mexico, and an additional 100 MW over the next couple of years, much of it from oil and gas production.
“Without Xcel Energy and the energy you are bringing to the area, growth wouldn’t happen,” said Finn Smith, Chair of Lea County Economic Development Corporation. “It not only benefits the commercial users but helps folks that are moving here to work and other businesses that are byproducts of the growth.”
As part of Power for the Plains, Xcel Energy has invested in over 800 miles of new transmission lines since 2011 in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. More than 700 additional miles of transmission line is planned to be constructed through 2021. Since 2011, over 30 new substations have been built and nearly 40 others upgraded. Another 27 substations will be built or upgraded through 2021. The transmission expansion represents more than $3 billion in investment.
Transmission investment in the region is giving communities a competitive edge for boosting business. Xcel Energy has launched a new Certified Site Program, to promote industrial growth within the communities we serve.
The focus of the program is an online inventory of prime industrial locations that is complete with detailed site information a site selector will need when researching business expansions or relocations.
A third party verifies key attributes, which helps speed the process and provides area communities a competitive advantage as they work to bring new businesses and jobs to the area. A 9,600 acre industrial park in Hobbs is among the first to be added.
About 90 miles of new transmission line have been energized in 2018. Work on converting the 40-mile Kiowa- Roadrunner 230 kV transmission line to 345 kV is expected to be complete by the end of April. And the new 90-mile 345 kV Hobbs- China Draw transmission line is scheduled to be serving customers in June. The project links the Hobbs Plant Substation, located about 11 miles northwest of Hobbs, with the new China Draw Substation located about 22 miles south of Carlsbad.
Final approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission came in November 2017 for the last segment of the nearly 170-mile TUCO-Yoakum-Hobbs 345 kV project. Construction is underway in Texas. When complete in 2020, the line will run between the TUCO substation about two miles north of Abernathy in Hale County, Texas, to the Hobbs Substation about 11 miles northwest of Hobbs, N.M.