Xcel gets go-ahead for transmission upgrades

Xcel Energy has received the go-ahead from the Public Regulation Commission for $60 million in transmission upgrades for the Clovis area, designed to improve reliability and prepare the region for potential growth.

"Really, this is part of a larger plan, a 10-year plan that started four years ago," Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves said, noting future projects for the area are in development now.

The plan approved by the PRC involves the construction of a new Pleasant Hill substation northeast of Clovis and two new 230-kilovolt transmission lines to connect it with the existing Roosevelt County and Oasis substations.

Additionally, the other substations will receive capacity upgrades and two additional transmission lines will be routed through the Pleasant Hill substation.

"If there's a storm that knocks out one line, you have other options," Reeves said. "That helps in this area, where we have a lot of weather exposure."

The improvements were among those identified in a 2009 reliability study from the Southwest Power Pool, and are expected to be in service in late 2014. The SPP, which includes Xcel as a member, coordinates transmission reliability for a wide region that includes portions of New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Xcel has approximately 17,000 customer accounts in the Clovis area.

"We're enjoying solid economic growth in the Clovis area, but to keep up with that growth and stay a step ahead, we need a more robust transmission network," said David Essex, manager for community and economic development in Clovis. "This project will improve the reliability of our system and greatly enhance our ability to attract new business to this area."

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