From our colleague David Hattery:
In its year-end report, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) outlined its program for an unprecedented build-out of high voltage lines to serve renewable energy projects. ERCOT will be overseeing the design and construction of more than 2,000 miles of new 345-kV transmission to serve additional wind capacity in remote areas of the ERCOT service area. The new projects are part of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) program enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2005. The CREZ projects, which are expected to cost an estimated $4.9 billion, will provide access to deliver 18,500 MW of additional wind-generated power from the panhandle and west Texas to load centers in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. In conjunction with the transmission projects, ERCOT recently completed the CREZ Reactive Power Study that recommends additional improvements necessary to control, condition, and route the additional renewable energy through the grid. Many of these projects are currently under construction and the entire CREZ program is scheduled to be complete by the close of 2013.