Published: 2:55 pm, Tue. Apr. 18th, 2017Updated: 2:54 pm
Construction crews have begun work in Southeast New Mexico on the first of several high-voltage transmission line segments that will come together as a single, 240-mile “Power for the Plains” corridor linking Texas with New Mexico.
The corridor is designed to deliver a more reliable, abundant and economic electricity supply to customers in both states.
A 90-mile line between Hobbs and a new substation called China Draw southeast of Carlsbad has been approved by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and is now under construction. By this summer, close to 250 workers will be involved in the development of this line. Additional line segments to be built by 2020 will connect the New Mexico line to the TUCO Substation north of Lubbock, Texas. The combined cost of the completed line segments is estimated at $400 million.
A similar transmission project was completed in 2014 connecting the TUCO Substation to a substation near Woodward in northwestern Oklahoma. When all segments between TUCO and China Draw are completed by 2020, a 345-kilovolt line will stretch more than 400 miles from western Oklahoma to Southeast New Mexico.
“Xcel Energy is committing a large amount of capital as a sign of our faith in the economies of eastern New Mexico and West Texas,” said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy-New Mexico, Texas. “We are focusing resources on projects that will not only provide our communities the safe, abundant and affordable power they need to develop, but do it in such a way that we can deliver billions of dollars of savings over the next three decades. The Power for the Plains transmission enhancement program is a foundational aspect of that strategy.”
The new line will boost one of the nation’s most prolific oil- and gas-producing regions – a region also primed for agricultural, mining and renewable energy growth – by delivering abundant and less expensive power supplies to the area. And the economic value of the line will extend even further.
“Xcel Energy’s investment in New Mexico is far reaching, and because the transmission line will cross State Trust Lands, even public school children will benefit from this ambitious endeavor,” said State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. “I appreciate Xcel Energy for their efforts to boost America’s energy supply and thank them for doing business with the State Land Office.”
The Hobbs-to-China Draw portion of the 345-kilovolt transmission line 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. The project will be constructed in three segments:
• Hobbs Plant Substation to the new Kiowa Substation, located about 15 miles northeast of Carlsbad.
• Kiowa Substation to the new North Loving Substation, located about eight miles southeast of Carlsbad.
• North Loving Substation to the China Draw Substation.
The Hobbs-to-China Draw project is expected to be in service in 2018. The estimated cost of the project is $163 million. By 2020, additional line segments from Hobbs to north of Lubbock will be completed that will link the Hobbs-to-China Draw line to the TUCO Substation in Texas, bringing the total project cost to about $400 million.