The Public Utility Commission of Texas issued its latest quarterly report last week on the progress of wiring West Texas to deliver wind energy to metropolitan areas, and it shows the project first estimated to cost ratepayers downstate $5 billion will now run closer to $7 billion.
Projects in the Texas Panhandle also are costing more with Sharyland Utilities estimating its share at $634 million for 295 miles of transmission lines compared to the original $393 million for 253 miles, according to the report. Cross Texas Transmission listed its cost as $427 million for 236 miles, up from $402 million for 222 miles in the original estimate.
A number of factors affected costs as the transmission project moved from planning to implementation. For example, the Public Utilities Commission estimated the cost of rights of way using an average cost, according to the study. Also, the routes were drawn with straight lines, but challenges necessitated more nuanced routes, adding miles of transmission line.
“Therefore actual distances will likely be from 10 percent to 50 percent longer than the study estimates,” the study stated.
Inflation is also an issue since the original costs were in 2008 dollars.
Further engineering studies have likewise contributed to added expenses since they indicated more equipment was needed to keep the transmission system reliable and stable.
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