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Electric Transmission Texas (ETT), a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., has energized the first of seven 345 kV transmission line projects associated with the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) initiative in west Texas.

According to ETT, the Riley to Edith Clarke transmission line and the Edith Clarke switching station were energized to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid on July 31. The 345 kV Riley to Edith Clarke transmission line is 41.6 miles long and runs from the Vernon area in Wilbarger County to the Crowell area in Foard County, Texas. This phase of the ETT CREZ program represents approximately $141.5 million of ETT's estimated total CREZ investment of approximately $1.5 billion.

Energizing the Riley to Edith Clarke line completes the first of the seven greenfield 345 kV transmission projects assigned to ETT as part of the CREZ initiative. The overall CREZ initiative involves eight different transmission service providers, including ETT, constructing 2,400 miles of transmission lines to carry 18,500 MW of west Texas wind generation to eastern load centers in ERCOT. All CREZ projects are scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. ETT received the second largest assignment of CREZ projects from the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

ETT received 20% of the Texas CREZ initiative. ETT's share of the CREZ project includes building approximately 460 miles of new double-circuit 345 kV lines and 16 switching stations, as well as acquiring rights-of-way across 578 tracts of land and upgrading existing stations and transmission lines.

For more on the CREZ lines, click here.

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