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Seven electric transmission owners and an independent transmission company recently initiated a joint effort to study and plan for the expansion and reinforcement of the regional grid to provide for a high-voltage backbone transmission system between Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

The companies involved in the High Plains Express Transmission (HPX) Project Study include Public Service Co. of Colorado (a subsidiary of Xcel Energy), Colorado Springs Utilities, Platte River Power Authority, Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Salt River Project, Trans-Elect Development Company, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and the Western Area Power Administration.

"This study is unique in that we will develop a proactive plan to create the robust infrastructure needed to support renewable expansion and other generation necessary for Colorado and the surrounding region," says Doug Jaeger, Xcel Energy's vice president for transmission.

According to the companies, HPX has the potential to provide a number of benefits, such as increasing access to renewable energy resources, increasing import and export capabilities for the region, and reducing environmental impacts by sharing utility corridors where feasible. In addition, the study will consider five large transmission projects announced in recent months to determine if certain synergies among these projects can lead to coordinated transmission plans.

The companies expect to complete HPX by August.

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