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Electric Transmission Texas LLC (ETT), a proposed joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., has filed a transmission proposal with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) for the construction of approximately 1,000 miles of transmission lines to support the development of competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ) in Texas.

At the same time, ETT proposed for consideration by the PUCT and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) an additional 900-mile, high-voltage, high-capacity transmission system to support long-range reliability needs facing the state. According to the companies, ETT made the recommendations through the CREZ docket, which will identify specific zones that are targeted for new generation and transmission infrastructure in Texas.

"There is a critical need to expand the Texas electric transmission grid," says Calvin Crowder, ETT's executive director. "Our proposal includes phased development of a high-voltage, high-capacity transmission backbone for ERCOT that will allow Texas to capture the long-term value of wind energy resources that are located in remote areas of the state, and quickly interconnect those renewable resources to the load centers in the south, central and north-central parts of the state."

The first two stages of the proposal focus on ensuring sufficient transmission capability to meet anticipated renewable energy needs, the companies say. The first stage would reinforce the ERCOT transmission grid, providing access for up to 8 GW of existing and planned renewable energy projects in north and central west Texas. Stage two would support an additional 2 GW of renewable energy projects.

The combined cost of these two stages is estimated to be approximately $3 billion, with completion of stage one anticipated by 2012 and stage two by 2015.

"The third stage of the proposal, a visionary plan to establish an extra high-voltage bulk power delivery system, is much longer-term in scope and conceptual in nature," adds Crowder. "Planning must begin now, however, to ensure the future viability of the ERCOT grid."

ETT anticipates filing more details of its plan with the PUCT in April in accordance with the commission's timetable in the CREZ proceeding. According to the CREZ docket procedural schedule, the PUCT is expected to release decisions about the CREZ zones, including outlining necessary transmission investment, in July 2007.

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