VIDEO: Xcel Energy turns on southeast New Mexico transmission line

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Xcel Energy has placed in service the $28 million, 115-kV Hopi to North Loving to China Draw transmission line project in southeastern New Mexico.

The project included construction of the new North Loving and China Draw substations and about 30 miles of new transmission line, including nine miles between the Hopi substation southwest of Carlsbad in Eddy County, N.M., to the North Loving substation southeast of Carlsbad. An additional 18 miles of the line connects the North Loving substation to the new China Draw substation, which is located about 22 miles south of Carlsbad.

“We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the regional transmission and distribution networks to improve the reliability and capacity of our power delivery systems,” David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy unit Southwestern Public Service Co., said in a June 1 statement. “This is especially important in light of the phenomenal growth in the energy and mining industries that support the southeastern New Mexico economy.”

Hudson noted that Xcel Energy is still connecting new oil wells to the grid in the region that were drilled before oil prices fell in 2014, adding that communities in the area continue to expand, demanding more power for a growing residential and commercial customer base.

Xcel Energy plans to complete an estimated $85 million in high-voltage transmission facilities in 2015 across southern Eddy County and neighboring southern Lea County in New Mexico. Those projects are:

·      The $58.5 million, 230-kV Potash Junction to Roadrunner transmission line project, which is estimated to be placed in service by December, and includes construction of 42 miles of new line between the new Roadrunner substation and the existing Potash Junction substation in Carlsbad

·      The new $9.3 million Quahada switching station in Lea County, which is estimated to be placed in service in mid-July

·      The $15.5 Battle Axe to Roadrunner project, which is estimated to be placed in service in December and includes construction of the new Battle Axe substation about 38 miles southeast of Carlsbad, along with a new, 19-mile 115-kV transmission connection to the new Roadrunner substation

This year, Xcel Energy also originally planned to bring online the $13.6 million Andrews to National Enrichment Facility (NEF) project in Lea County, an Xcel Energy spokesperson told TransmissionHub on June 2. NEF is a plant for the enrichment of uranium. The spokesperson said that issues related to permitting have pushed the completion date for the project to April 2016.

Construction for the Andrews to NEF transmission line includes about two miles of new transmission line between the Andrews substation located seven miles from Eunice, N.M., to the NEF substation located five miles east of Eunice, according to the project website. For the project, Xcel is installing a 230/115-kV transformer and associated equipment in the Andrews substation.

The project will provide an additional source of power to the NEF substation, as well as additional 115-kV transmission capacity to the regional system.

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