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Texas regulators approve 2 transmission lines for Lubbock move into ERCOT

Texas regulators have approved the construction of two 345-kV transmission lines that will allow the city-owned utility of Lubbock, Texas, to join the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. market.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas in March 2018 approved Lubbock Power & Light's switch from the Southwest Power Pool to ERCOT, effective June 1, 2021, but integrating the utility, known as LP&L, into ERCOT requires additional transmission capacity.

In its most recent decision, the PUCT on Oct. 14 approved the Abernathy-to-Wadsworth line though it tweaked the route from what was outlined in a proposal for decision. The preferred route runs about 33.1 miles in Hale and Lubbock counties and has an estimated cost of $64.7 million. (PUCT Docket No. 48668).

On Sept. 26, the commission approved construction of the Ogallala-to-Abernathy line, in Castro, Hale and Swisher counties. The approved route runs 58.2 miles and has an estimated cost of $88.9 million. (PUCT Docket No. 48625)

LP&L originally worked with Sharyland Utilities LLC on the ERCOT integration, but in May, portions of Sharyland's assets, including those around Lubbock, were acquired by Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC. Oncor, itself majority-owned by Sempra Energy, will now complete the Lubbock projects.

A commission decision is still pending on a third related ERCOT integration project, the Abernathy-to-North-to-North Loop project, running 22.4 miles to 32.4 miles from Oncor's Abernathy substation in Hale County to LP&L's planned 115-kV loop line in Lubbock County through the planned North substation. (PUCT Docket No. 49151)