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ERCOT board endorses $246.7M Freeport transmission project

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced Dec. 14 that its board has endorsed a $246.7 million transmission project to address growing industrial demand on Texas' Gulf coast.

The area the Freeport Master Plan Project would serve is in the vicinity of Freeport, Texas, an area that includes a major seaport and "several large chemical facilities."

"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," the statement released by the grid operator said.

ERCOT senior manager of transmission planning Jeff Billo said the ERCOT grid is experiencing demand growth "especially in areas affected by industrial growth and oil and gas activity."

Originally proposed by Centerpoint Energy, the project includes a new 48-mile, 345-kV transmission line from the Bailey substation to the Jones Creek substation and an upgrade to the 345-kV Dow-Velasco to Jones Creek circuits 18 and 27, which spans approximately three miles, and is expected to be completed by 2022, pending approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

The board also approved a series of upgrades that will occur by 2020 to maintain system reliability in the area until the project is completed.