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New Transmission Needed To Support Growing Texas Wind Generation Capacity

by Staff Writers
Austin TX (SPX) Apr 26, 2007
Every dollar spent for construction of new transmission lines to support the development of wind resources in Texas will result in a $5 to $7 reduction in energy costs, according to testimony filed Tuesday with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) by Electric Transmission Texas, a proposed joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings.

The testimony, which was submitted as a part of the PUCT's Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) Docket, supports a study by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) through ETT's own analysis while at the same time providing an additional analysis sponsored jointly by ETT and The Wind Coalition, a group of large wind developers, equipment suppliers and public interest organizations promoting wind development in the south central United States.

The jointly-sponsored study focused on the benefits of new transmission to support wind resources throughout the state and did not specifically address the ETT proposal filed in the CREZ Docket.

"The jointly-sponsored analysis validates the conclusions of the earlier ERCOT study, which indicated that consumers would save between $221 million to $1.278 billion per year with the addition of 1,000 to 5,250 megawatts of wind generation," said Calvin Crowder, ETT executive director. "In fact, the study jointly sponsored with The Wind Coalition, as well as our own separate analysis, concludes that the savings initially projected by ERCOT are conservative.

"Clearly, there is a strong economic case for moving forward to build new transmission lines to ensure the development of wind resources throughout the state," Crowder continued. "At the same time, we advocate seizing upon what we see as a unique opportunity to address the long-term transmission needs within ERCOT."

ETT has proposed the construction of approximately 1,000 miles of transmission lines to support development of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones in Texas. At the same time, ETT proposes consideration by the PUCT and ERCOT of a high-voltage, high-capacity backbone transmission system to support long-range reliability and customer growth needs facing the state.

The first two stages of the ETT Transmission Plan will deliver up to 10,000 megawatts of existing and planned renewable energy from Competitive Renewable Energy Zones in north and central West Texas to major load centers along the I-35 corridor from north Dallas-Fort Worth area to the Austin-San Antonio area. The combined cost of these two phases is estimated to be approximately $3 billion with completion of Stage One anticipated by 2012 and Stage Two by 2015, based upon AEP's experience with past transmission projects in Texas.

Stage Three of the ETT Transmission Plan will establish a transmission backbone within ERCOT through the construction of an extra high-voltage bulk power delivery system. Stage Three of the ETT Transmission plan, estimated to cost approximately $4 billion, is conceptual and long-term in its approach and could change significantly as part of the PUCT and ERCOT evaluation process.

Definitive paths for the proposed projects have not been determined, and will not be determined, without ample opportunity for public input. The proposal is not exclusive; other transmission developers will be welcome to participate.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

AEP's transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas.

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EU Warns Russia Against Using Energy For Political Purposes
Vilnius (RIA Novosti) Apr 26, 2007
EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and European MPs have urged Russia to abandon using energy as a political weapon and resume oil supplies to Lithuania. They adopted a joint statement saying that Russia and the EU are mutually dependent on energy, and that the majority of problems arise from political disagreements.

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