Pattern Energy Group LP 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.
The orders issued by FERC on Dec. 15, 2011 are in response to applications filed by Pattern in September 2011. The first order directs the city of Garland, TX, and its municipal-owned electric utility Garland Power & Light 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.