Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern) today announced that its Southern Cross transmission project has obtained two key regulatory orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Pattern is developing the Southern Cross project to add a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission tie of up to 3,000 MW between ERCOT in Texas and the transmission grid deep in the southeastern United States by 2016.
"We have reached a significant milestone in the development of our Southern Cross project, which will allow Texas to share its abundant low-cost wind energy resources with its neighbor states to the southeast," said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. "Southern Cross is an innovative transmission project that will create new jobs, while generating investment and economic development in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The project, which will provide the southeast United States with the opportunity to access affordable renewable energy, will also provide significant reliability benefits to both regions by connecting two robust systems and allowing sharing of resources."
The orders issued by FERC on December 15, 2011 are in response to applications filed by Pattern in September, 2011. The first order directs the City of Garland, Texas and its municipal-owned electric utility Garland Power & Light (Garland) to interconnect the project with ERCOT and directs Texas transmission providers to provide transmission service into and out of ERCOT. The order will be finalized by FERC upon completion of the interconnection studies and final definition of the necessary interconnection facilities. The order also contained a clear disclaimer of jurisdiction by FERC, ensuring the continued status quo of all transmission providers and entities within ERCOT as generally exempt from FERC regulation. The confirmation by FERC of the disclaimer of jurisdiction represents a significant regulatory milestone in the development of the Southern Cross project.
The second order granted Pattern the authority to sell transmission service on Southern Cross at negotiated rates, and detailed provisions for subscribing anchor tenants and holding an open season as a participant-funded transmission project. This order enables Pattern, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Southern Cross Transmission LLC, to immediately commence anchor tenant negotiations with interested shippers.
The Southern Cross project is expected to facilitate the further development of additional Texas wind projects by creating access to new markets. The project will allow Texas to expand its traditional role as an energy supplier, adding wind energy to its portfolio of major exports.
A leader in wind energy and transmission, Pattern also has extensive experience in developing innovative solutions to complex transmission problems. Pattern's team of transmission experts has developed other transmission projects, including the Trans Bay Cable project under San Francisco Bay. The Trans Bay Cable project is a groundbreaking submarine transmission line that was completed in 2010 and is presently serving up to 40% of San Francisco's and the northern peninsula's energy needs.