There are several plans for major grid projects being considered by different stakeholders in national and regional groups. The CREZ lines should be in operation from late 2013. This is a substantial effort to transport wind energy from West Texas to the population centers in East and South Texas in the ERCOT area. Scandia Wind has made application for 1200 MW to be put on this line between 2013 and 2015. Total capacity of these lines is over 18,000 MW and will serve some non-renewable energy sources as well as both new and existing wind energy projects.
The Southwest Power Pool is also developing their EHV Overlay plan which could bring additional transmission lines into our region. This project supports the concept of generating wind energy in the South Central part of the US with the possibility of energy transportation to large cities in the East. Some of these lines may be built with 765Kv lines which currently do not exist west of the Mississippi. These very high voltage transmission lines could provide the foundation for a transmission "super highway." Scandia Wind is closely following the development of these lines.
There are other significant transmission projects in the works as well. The planned Tres Amigas Superstation hub in Eastern New Mexico offers a unique opportunity to move wind power produced in this area to multiple load centers around the nation. Scandia Wind Southwest is in contact with Tres Amigas to find a way to make a direct connection to Tres Amigas because of the close proximity of the two projects. This would potentially help the Mariah project to obtain necessary PPAs in more attractive markets. Additionally, there are a number of long-range DC transmission projects that are in various stages of development that could positively impact the Mariah project. Success stories from Europe and around the globe may inspire out-of-the-box thinking and new directions in a nation-wide effort to solve the current limitations of the grid.
The location of the Mariah project makes it possible to think in terms of sending the wind energy in more than one direction, to more than one major market. This is an ambitious idea which will only be possible by taking advantage of the large scale of the project to spread out the significant cost of transmission to remote consumption.