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NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada Transmission Project Approved by PUCN

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Industry News

Transmission Constraints a Concern in Texas Dereg

LCG, March 23, 2001With the beginning of electric competition set to start in Texas with a pilot program for 5 percent of retail customers on June 1, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state's transmission grid, says getting power from here to there in the huge state is its biggest concern.

Casting an eye to California where insufficient power supply has caused most of that state's problems, Tom Noel, chief executive of ERCOT, said "Capacity is not the only issue. Serving this 200,000 square miles of territory and 6 million customers requires an awful lot of transmission, distribution and wire."

Speaking at the Houston Energy Expo, Noel pointed out that Texas' generating capacity stands at 65,000 megawatts and its peak demand last summer was 57,000 megawatts, giving the state a 14 percent safety margin. To handle growth in its population and economy, 22 new power plants have been built in the state in the past five years, 15 are under construction and 30 are on the drawing board, he said.

But Noel point out, "Also important are the (transmission) constraints that exist." He said there were portions of the state where "You can't get (power) from here to there."

Noel said transmission will be squeezed from South Texas north to Dallas, inside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, from the Rio Grande Valley to Austin and San Antonio and from West Texas to the eastern part of the state.

Full deregulation of the Texas retail power market is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2002, and Noel said both ERCOT and state regulators are committed to meeting that schedule. But ERCOT will conduct a mock market a week from Monday, on April 2, and, citing delays in setting up computer systems and testing them, Noel warns "It's not going to be pretty."

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