- American Electric Power Texas and affiliate Electric Transmission Texas are moving ahead on the $1 billion South Texas line.
- The line is a part of the Cross Valley Project for the Rio Grande Valley approved by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state's grid operator, and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), after February 2011’s cold, snow, and ice caused rolling blackouts.
- The new line is on schedule to be complete by 2016 and the cost will be allocated across all Texas electricity customers’ bills. Regulators determined it will serve all users by reducing congestion on the state power grid by supplementing two 20-year-old lines on which 1.3 million people now rely.
With more lines in service, more of the Gulf Coast wind resource can be incorporated into the Texas grid. This will be a crucial addition to the state’s generation mix because the winds off the Gulf are strongest during afternoon peak demand periods while the Panhandle and West Texas wind resources tend to be strongest at night and in the early morning and, if they fade, tend to do so in the afternoons. Gulf winds were instrumental in limiting the 2011 rolling blackouts.
The third South Texas line will allow AEP to double the capacity of the two existing lines and do maintenance on each, one line at a time, during periods of lower demand. Power from the third 200-plus megawatt, $410-plus million phase of the Starr County Los Vientos wind installation, being built by Duke Energy and scheduled be ready to go online by the end of 2015, would be delivered from the Gulf Coast by the new line.