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ERCOT: Board endorses CenterPoint Energy power grid plan

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ERCOT said its board of directors has endorsed the Freeport Master Plan Project, proposed by CenterPoint Energy, to help address growing electricity needs in Freeport, Texas.

CenterPoint Energy proposed the project through ERCOT’s Regional Planning Group to help keep up with large industrial growth occurring in the area, ERCOT said, noting that Freeport is a highly industrialized region with several large chemical facilities, as well as a major seaport.

Peak customer demand in the Freeport area is expected to be 92 percent higher in 2019 than it was in 2016, when the project was studied, and is expected to continue to grow through 2022, based on existing and newly committed customer agreements, ERCOT said.

As noted in a board presentation on the project, ERCOT performed an independent review and confirmed certain NERC and ERCOT planning reliability criteria violations. To resolve the near-term violations (2020), CenterPoint’s “Bridge the gap upgrades” are recommended, the presentation noted, adding that those upgrades have a cost estimate of $32.3 million and include:

·      Loop 345-kV South Texas Project (STP) – Dow-Velasco circuit 27 into the Jones Creek substation (about 0.9 mile)

·      Installing 7-ohm in-line reactors at the Jones Creek substation on 345-kV STP – Jones Creek circuits 18 and 27

·      Installing a third 345/138-kV 800/1,000 MVA autotransformer at the Jones Creek substation

·      Installing a fourth 138-kV capacitor bank (120 MVAr) at the Jones Creek substation

·      Installing the first 138-kV automatically switchable capacitor bank (140 MVAr) at the Jones Creek substation

·      Installing a second 138-kV automatically switchable capacitor bank (140 MVAr) at the Jones Creek substation

The presentation noted that ERCOT evaluated five options to resolve the long-term (2022) criteria violations, including “Option 3,” which has a cost estimate of $214.4 million and includes:

·      Building a new 48-mile, 345-kV double-circuit transmission line from the Bailey substation to the Jones Creek substation (2988 MVA emergency rating)

·      Upgrading the 345-kV Dow-Velasco to Jones Creek circuits 18 and 27, which is about three miles (minimum 1,700 MVA emergency rating)

“ERCOT recommends the board endorse the need for the Freeport Master Plan Project, which includes the Bridge the Gap Upgrades and Option 3, and which TAC voted to endorse (unanimously), to address the reliability need in the study region,” the presentation said.

ERCOT said in its statement that pending approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the improvements – which have an estimated capital cost of $246.7m – are expected to be completed by 2022.

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