Tammy Mutasa, Garland/Mesquite Reporter
Garland's portion of the Wind Energy Project is expected to lower electric bills and support other city-based projects
Garland Power and Light is hoping the revenue it cashes in from a high-profile wind energy project will help stabilize and even lower electrics rates for its residents.
Garland Power and Light is participating in the Pattern Energy Southern Cross Project which uses 400 miles of transmission lines to share excess wind energy generated in Texas to states in the southeastern part of the country.
"From an economic standpoint, Garland will be paid some revenues above and beyond our cost to participate in this project,” said Ray Schwertner, Garland Power and Light Electric Utility Director. “Those revenues will be used to lower electric bills or stabilize and support other projects in the city of Garland."
Garland’s section in the wind energy project is a 30-mile-long transmission line on the Texas border. The utility will make money from managing and maintaining the facilities there and from consulting fees.
"This is not going to cost the city of Garland or residents any money at all but it will be a revenue stream to help the city and GPL lower the utility rates and provide better service to the citizens,” said City of Garland Councilman Larry Jeffus.
For Garland’s Utility Director, it’s a big step in a booming industry.
"We'd like to support the development of wind energy, we believe that's a good thing, for today and for the future,” said Schwertner. “And we have an excess amount of renewable energy in the form of wind energy and in West Texas that is available to share with other states."
The project will also increase reliability within ERCOT because power can also flow back into Texas. It’s especially important for Texas to receive power from the other states when the state is short on supply, especially during hot summer months.
Garland residents are anticipating the benefits of the project, on paper.
"I've lived here for 36 years and anything that would lower our bills would be a blessing to this community because our bills are astronomical,” said Corryne Hampton, Garland resident.
The transmission line is expected to be energized in 2015. The amount of power that can be exported or imported into Texas through the new transmission facilities will be three times more than exists currently.