Texas regulators OK transmission for $1 bn wind farm

28 November 2007 — Texas public utility regulators have approved plans for a $60 million transmission-line project in South Texas. AEP Texas plans to build a 21-mile transmission line and switching stations that would interconnect the two wind farms in Kenedy County, Texas.

The expected $1 billion wind farms are being developed by Babcock & Brown Ltd. of Australia and PPM Energy of Portland, Ore. The project could be commercially available next year.

AEP filed the application in June, according to the PUC’s approval notice, to build the line on the Kenedy Ranch, which has given its go-ahead. But the prospect of hundreds of turbines doesn’t sit well with Kenedy’s neighbor, the storied King Ranch.

King Ranch is part of a coalition of 12 conservation and other organizations that oppose the transmission line and plan to sue the PUC for not allowing it to intervene in the case.

The PUC’s approval says an evaluation of the property by the environmental consulting firm PBS&J revealed the line is not expected to adversely affect any threatened or endangered plant or animal species.

AEP spokeswoman Melissa McHenry said the company hopes to start work on the line as soon as possible and complete it by next September.