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Could ERCOT soon be connected to the southeastern US power grid?

The federal and state governments have granted approval to build a connection between the power grids through the Southern Spirit Transmission project.

FTW-train-snow-skyline

The grid connector could help Texas’ power demands during winter weather events.

Photo by @jrh79_

Ahead of the upcoming arctic blast, ERCOT issued a Weather Watch for Monday, Jan. 15-Wednesday, Jan. 17, predicting higher electrical demand and the potential for lower reserves. Did you know there’s a project that could potentially connect Texas’ power grid to the southeastern US?

Don’t get too excited — the project is still at least five years away — but here’s what we know so far.

What is the Southern Spirit Transmission?

Private company Pattern Energy has been working with state regulators for the last decade on a connection line from Texas through Louisiana to Mississippi. The $2.6 billion privately-funded project would add at least 320 miles of lines, more than doubling the capacity of Texas’ four existing power connections.

What does that mean?

The new connection would be the largest in Texas, supporting 525kV (or 3,000 megawatts) of transmission in either direction. That is enough electricity to power ~600,000 homes.

When might it happen?

Right-of-way work has already started + construction is slated to begin in 2026 with service starting in late 2029.

Mississippi and Louisiana must still approve the project, but it could offer support during times of peak demand, like severe weather events.

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