HARLINGEN — Wind can be harnessed, but the power it generates still has to be moved.
AEP Texas and E.ON Climate and Renewables this month submitted a proposal to the Public Utility Commission of Texas to build between 22 and 32 miles of new power transmission lines in Cameron and Willacy counties.
The companies say the double-circuit 345-kilovolt lines are needed to bring electricity produced by E.ON’s 116-turbine Magic Valley Wind Farm II into the Texas power grid, known as ERCOT. The new wind farm, which is expected to generate 230 megawatts of power, is not yet operational.
If approved by the PUC, construction on the transmission lines would begin in mid-2019 and finish in mid-2020.
The towers to be erected are called BOLD towers, and look like a single big tube with crossbow limbs drooping off the top on both sides. Transmission lines are attached below the single crosstree of the towers.
“The design is very compact, as far as width-wise, and it’s shorter than your typical, your traditional structures,” Randy Roper, regulatory case manager for AEP Texas, said yesterday.
Roper said the advantage of BOLD towers is they are 116 to 130 feet tall, which is 30 to 40 feet shorter than older towers like lattice towers. The new towers are popular in agricultural areas, since the smaller size makes it easier for crop dusters to fly low to spray fields.
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Anyone interested in intervening in the case can obtain more information by accessing the PUC website at www.puc.state.tx.us or by calling the customer assistance hotline at 1-888-782-8477. Deadline for intervention is March 9.
Detailed maps of the proposed transmission lines are available at the Harlingen Public Library and the Reber Memorial Library in Raymondville.
WHAT: New double-circuit 345-kilovolt power transmission towers and lines.
WHERE: Southern border is Harlingen, Combes and Santa Rosa, north to near San Perlita and west to County Road 140 and County Road 150. Proposed grid includes all of Raymondville, Lyford and Sebastian.
LENGTH: 22 to 32 miles of power lines, depending on which route receives regulatory approval.
WHY: The transmission lines will move power generated by the planned Magic Valley Wind Farm II into the state grid.
WHEN: Construction target start is mid-2019; completion by mid-2020.
COST: $49.5 million to $74.5 million.
WHO: AEP Texas and E.ON Climate and Renewables.