The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is planning to spend more than $3.6 billion on 16 transmission improvement projects between 2014 and 2018. The projects include additions and upgrades to more than 3,300 miles of transmission lines and other equipment improvements to increase capacity and support reliability.
Two of the areas that will receive transmission improvements face high demand because of oil and gas exploration: the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale region. ERCOT stated transmission providers in the Permian Basin have already implemented many improvements to address the concerns in that region and will continue do so in coming years, and ERCOT’s regional planning group has approved around $331 million in improvements for the Eagle Ford Shale region between 2014 and 2017.
ERCOT is also looking at three proposed solutions for providing a new transmission line to deliver power to the Houston area and plans to complete an analysis in early 2014.
The grid operator stated it is also prioritizing the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where there are only two high-voltage circuits carrying power into the region, and studying whether additional enhancements will be needed to support increasing development of wind power expected in the Panhandle region.