Find answers to your questions about the Southern Cross Transmission Project.
Below you’ll find some frequently asked questions about the Southern Cross Project. You may also browse the FAQs by category. For questions regarding specific states, please select a state from the menu on the right. If you cannot find answers to your questions, please contact us.
Why is this project needed?
The Southern Cross Project is designed to facilitate the development of additional Texas wind projects for transmission to markets in the Southeastern U.S. By creating the capability to move electricity bi-directionally between the ERCOT and Southeast regions, the Project will result in more efficient utilization of generation and improved competitive conditions throughout both regions.
Who is developing the Project?
Pattern Energy Group LP (“Pattern Development”) recognized the benefits of exporting wind power from Texas, which is home to some of the highest wind resource regions in the United States, to the Southeast which has almost no economic wind resources. It is developing the Southern Cross Project to provide those benefits. Pattern Development is a leader in developing renewable energy and transmission assets. With a global footprint spanning North America, South America, the Caribbean and Japan, Pattern Development’s highly-experienced team has brought more than 4,000 MW of wind capacity to market. Pattern Development is also one of the few teams that have successfully completed the development of an independent transmission line in the United States.
Who will own and operate the line?
Southern Cross Transmission LLC (Southern Cross Project), an affiliate of Pattern Development, will own and operate the line.
Where will the project go?
In general, we need to route the line from a new converter station in the DeSoto Parish in Louisiana, and extend eastward for approximately 400 miles to a new converter station located near the Mississippi/Alabama state line.
Is the Southern Cross Transmission Project AC or DC transmission? Why is DC transmission used instead of AC?
The Southern Cross Project is DC, or more specifically, High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC). The use of HVDC transmission results in less electrical loss along the transmission line and therefore is more efficient over long distances when compared to AC transmission lines with similar voltages. HVDC also allows for the connections of separate grids such as between the electrical grid found in the ERCOT region of Texas and the electrical grid of the Southeastern U.S.
When will a final route be selected?
We anticipate the final route will be identified by December 2016.
How long will this transmission line be?
The Southern Cross Project will span approximately 400 miles, extending from the eastern border of Louisiana to the western border of Mississippi.
Will there be an opportunity for public input on this Project?
Yes, public input is a critical component of the Southern Cross Project. We will be hosting public open houses along the alternative routes in June in each of Louisiana and Mississippi to solicit input on the preliminary alternative routes, answer questions, and address any concerns. The meetings in Louisiana will be held on June 20, 21, 22, and 23. The meetings in Mississippi will be held on June 27, 28, 29, and 30. Additional meeting information can be found on the Louisiana and Mississippi pages of this website.
Who has final approval on the route?
In Mississippi, the Southern Cross Project will submit an application to the Mississippi PSC for approval of one of several alternative routes that we will identify. The MPSC will select the final route, and the Southern Cross Project will work with various permitting agencies to secure the necessary permits for that route.
How tall will the structures be and what will they look like?
On average, the height of the structures will be approximately 120 feet with spans between structures of approximately 1,000 to 1,200 feet. The Southern Cross Project is currently considering the use of Tubular steel monopoles structures on the straight line runs and Lattice steel structures on the corners and crossings (such as rivers, highways, and other long spans.) Other structure types are also being considered. This approach is subject to final route and design.
What is the span of the structures?
The average span, or distance between structures, will be approximately 1,000 to 1,200 feet.
How wide will the easement be?
The typical easement width will be 180 feet.
When will construction begin?
Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018
When will the line be in service?
The Southern Cross Project is planned to be placed in service in 2021.
How/when will I know if my property is affected?
Letter invitations to attend the public open houses will be/were sent to property owners located within 500 feet of all possible route options. Once a final route is determined, all previously contacted landowners will be notified by mail and those that will be directly impacted by the selected route will be contacted by Project team members.
Why can't you bury the lines?
While construction of an underground transmission line in concept could be built, cable sizes and other technical issues make it technically infeasible. Generally this type of construction, even if the equipment were available, is cost prohibitive and the environment impacts may be significantly higher.
Why can't more capacity be added to existing lines?
The Southern Cross Project transmission line will be HVDC and will be constructed to be separate from the existing AC transmission lines, which form the power grid in the Southeastern U.S. The direction and amount of electricity is very difficult to control with AC transmission lines. The ability to control direction and amount of electricity is, in fact, a major advantage of HVDC technology. Because the Southern Cross Project is designed to move power directly from the Texas ERCOT grid to the Southeast, and vice versa, simply increasing the capacity of the existing AC system is not an appropriate solution for purpose of the project.