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Xcel completes transmission line segment

Xcel Energy has completed the first segment of a $400 million transmission line and substation upgrade meant to keep up with increasing demand in Texas and New Mexico. The Hobbs-China Draw line runs about 90 miles from west of Hobbs to south of Carlsbad. (Submitted Photo)

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Xcel Energy has brought on line the first segment of a new high-voltage transmission link between Texas and New Mexico that will deliver electricity to customers in both states.

A new 86-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line between Hobbs and the new China Draw Substation southeast of Carlsbad is the first of several segments of a $400 million transmission improvement project that will connect to the TUCO Substation north of Lubbock, Texas by mid-2020.

More than 250 workers were involved in building this $140 million line segment and related substation improvements.

“The Hobbs-China Draw line opens up a critical pathway for additional power to sustain industrial growth and job creation in southeastern New Mexico,” said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy for New Mexico and Texas. “Additionally, it will vastly improve the efficiency and reliability of our network, which, over time, will reduce costs to our customers.”

Xcel officials were scheduled to meet Thursday at a substation southeast of Carlsbad to commemorate the line completion.

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Xcel said growth in the oil and gas industry in New Mexico, as well as expected growth in agricultural, mining and renewable energy are pushing up electricity demand, with Xcel Energy experiencing hundreds of megawatts of new load requests from Eddy and Lea counties.

The Hobbs-China Draw line is a major component of Xcel Energy’s “Power for the Plains” initiative to boost the capacity and reliability of its New Mexico and Texas electric delivery systems. Xcel Energy, a public company based in Minneapolis, Minn., and operating in eight western states, has invested in more than 800 miles of new transmission lines and more than 30 new substations across this area since 2011, along with upgrades to another 40 existing substations.

This and future improvements through 2021 represent more than $3 billion in investment.

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