Operational Excellence
November 10, 2020

Powering the economy with New Mexico transmission line

Increased electric load capacity helps communities, businesses and renewable energy development

From the comfort and convenience of our homes, it can be easy to overlook the broader scope of the electric grid. While mostly out of sight, thousands of miles of transmission lines bring high-voltage electricity from power plants and renewable energy sources reliably to our neighborhoods. Adding capacity by upgrading transmission lines means more electric power to help businesses, factories, manufacturing and production facilities grow. And more productive transmission lines are vital to increasing our use of clean renewable energy sources like wind farms, hydro and solar arrays often located in remote and less populated areas.


Click on the image above to watch a short video on the Eddy County-Kiowa transmission line.

The Eddy County-Kiowa 345-kilovolt transmission line is delivering energy to customers in New Mexico and beyond.  The line stretches 34 miles from an area near Artesia to just northeast of Carlsbad and includes the expansion of the line’s two connecting electric substations.

 On-time and on budget even with challenges from COVID-19, unseasonable weather and rugged terrain

“The team's dedication, teamwork, and perseverance through this COVID epidemic is just outstanding and just shows you how committed our employees are,” said David Hudson, Xcel Energy President – Texas, New Mexico. “Over 100 employees worked to complete this project on time and on budget despite many challenges.”

The $65 million investment will enhance electric reliability and increase capacity for economic growth, including oil and gas expansion and renewable energy development.

“Xcel Energy does a great job of reaching out to prospective employers who are looking at coming here and making sure they understand their need for electricity,” said Rep. Cathrynn Brown, New Mexico District 55. “They make sure the capacity is there for that expansion.”

“We've been serving the area for a century, and we're proud to build it because it really benefits all the customers in the area plus the regional and local industries,” said Michael Lamb, Xcel Energy Senior Vice President Transmission. “Transmission lines are critical for moving energy to customers.”

“Our heartfelt thanks go out to the employees of Xcel Energy for keeping the lights on,” said John Waters, Executive Director Carlsbad Department of Development. “There are a lot of things that are counting on them right now, and we appreciate all they do.”

The new connection is part of a larger, regional upgrading effort

This project is part of the Power for the Plains transmission expansion, a series of transmission line projects that Xcel Energy is upgrading or building in its Texas and New Mexico service area to expand and update the electric grid to improve reliability, meet demand and provide new renewable energy outlets.

Xcel Energy has invested in over 1,300 miles of new transmission lines since 2011 in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Another 200 additional miles of transmission line are planned for construction through 2021. Since 2011, over 75 new substations have been built or upgraded. Another 11 substations will be built or upgraded through 2021. The transmission expansion represents more than $3 billion in investment.

Learn more about  Xcel Energy’s  vision to deliver 100 % carbon-free electricity by 2050.