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Petition seeking siting certificate for Southern Cross Transmission Project filed with Mississippi regulators

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Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) on April 26 said that a petition for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (siting certificate) for the proposed Southern Cross Transmission Project has been filed with the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

The company said that the preferred route for the ±500-kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line – which was included in the petition for the commission’s consideration – would cross the Mississippi River in Issaquena County and continue eastward through Washington, Sharkey, Humphreys, Holmes, Carroll, Montgomery, Choctaw, Oktibbeha, Clay, and Monroe counties, before terminating at a converter station to be built in Lowndes County.

The project – with a base load capacity of 2,000 MW (delivered in either direction after losses and before overloads) – would link wind energy in Texas to the transmission grid and customers in the Southeast, the company said.

Project construction is expected to start in 2018, and the project is expected to begin delivering power in 2021, the company said.

According to Moss Adams LLP’s December 2016 “Report on the economic and fiscal impacts of the Southern Cross Transmission Project, Mississippi,” the project would include two large electric current converter stations – one located in DeSoto Parish, La., near the Texas border, and the other one located in Lowndes County, Miss., near the Alabama border – and an approximately 400-mile HVDC transmission line connecting the two stations.

Regarding regulatory filings in Louisiana, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on April 26: "We do not anticipate needing to file in Louisiana because there will be no power delivery in that state. Louisiana will, however, receive many benefits, including approximately $2 billion in economic and fiscal impact over 30 years."

According to Moss Adams' document, capital investment, excluding financing and development costs, is expected to total about $1.4bn in Louisiana and Mississippi, and accrues to the risk of the project’s investors, not to ratepayers.

Long-term operations and maintenance for the project would involve the western converter station located in northwest Louisiana, the eastern converter station in northeast Mississippi, the line itself, as well as the right of way for the HVDC line, Moss Adams said.

The primary impetus behind the project is to enable the integration of economical wind energy from Texas into the Southeast grid system, Moss Adams said, adding that the project’s benefits to ERCOT and the Southeast include the production and use of additional renewable energy, economic development, regional power market economic benefit, and increased electrical reliability through providing access to the diverse generation resources in each region.

Pattern Development CEO Mike Garland said in the April 26 statement, in part: “The Southern Cross project will be one of the nation’s first overhead HVDC transmission lines constructed in nearly two decades – and all of the capital investment required for the project is being provided by private investors. It is the only project to connect low-cost renewable energy in Texas to the Southeast while also creating jobs and generating strong economic benefits in both the southern states and Texas. In addition, it will provide significant reliability and economic benefits by connecting two robust systems. We are now in discussions with parties interested in buying the low-cost clean power this project will deliver.”

The company noted that a recent study conducted by Moss Adams found that the project would provide significant economic benefits to the project areas within Louisiana and Mississippi, including $3.9bn in total direct, indirect, induced and fiscal economic impact across the study area of those two states. Project employment during the peak of the construction phase is anticipated to exceed 650 jobs, the company said.

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