The proposed Southern Cross Transmission project has filed a petition for a siting certificate with the Mississippi Public Service Commission. That petition includes the designation of a preferred route for the MPSC's consideration.
"Reaching this major milestone is the result of several years of work to identify the optimal placement of the line through a combination of science, engineering, and engaging with landowners, farmers, foresters, and each of the municipalities in the towns and counties along the route," said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development. "The Southern Cross project will be one of the nation's first overhead HVDC transmission lines constructed in nearly two decades – and all of the capital investment required for the project is being provided by private investors. It is the only project to connect low-cost renewable energy in Texas to the Southeast while also creating jobs and generating strong economic benefits in both the southern states and Texas. In addition, it will provide significant reliability and economic benefits by connecting two robust systems. We are now in discussions with parties interested in buying the low-cost clean power this project will deliver."
The preferred route would cross the Mississippi River in Issaquena County and continue eastward through Washington, Sharkey, Humphreys, Holmes, Carroll, Montgomery, Choctaw, Oktibbeha, Clay, and Monroe counties before terminating at a converter station to be built in Lowndes County. Landowners on the route, which has been filed with the MPSC, will receive notice by letter in the coming weeks. The boards of supervisors in each of the respective counties have adopted resolutions of support for the project and its positive impact.
"The Southern Cross Transmission project will have a significant impact on our county tax revenues," remarked Bill Newsom, president of the Sharkey Board of Supervisors. "We were pleased to have been able to work with company officials well in advance of today's filing and look forward to continuing our partnership into the future."
In the filing, the MPSC is being asked to approve a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (commonly called a siting certificate). The Commission will be examining the project over the coming months and is expected to issue its order once that review has been completed.
The Southern Cross Transmission project is a ±500 kilovolt high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line with a base load capacity of 2,000 Megawatts (delivered in either direction after losses and before overloads) that will link abundant and cost-competitive wind energy in Texas to the transmission grid and customers in the Southeast.
"The Southern Cross line will provide our region with cost-effective electricity and increased reliability for the entire southeastern electrical grid," said Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Golden Triangle Development Link. "Pattern Development's $300 million investment in Lowndes County strengthens the position that the Golden Triangle possesses some of the most reliable power in the south."
A recent study conducted by Moss Adams LLP found that the Southern Cross Transmission project would provide significant economic benefits to the project areas within Louisiana and Mississippi, including $3.9 billion in total direct, indirect, induced and fiscal economic impact across the study area of Louisiana and Mississippi. Southern Cross Transmission is expected to generate a direct economic impact over 30 years of about $1.05 billion in Mississippi and $1.05 billion in Louisiana, excluding the significant benefits to the Southeast and Texas.
The direct economic impact to Louisiana and Mississippi includes the cost incurred during development, construction, and operation of the project. In addition, the indirect, induced and fiscal impact of $1.8 billion are a result of additional economic activities resulting from the Project. The study found the project would generate annual average property tax payments of approximately $14.7 million, including $6.5 million in Louisiana and $8.2 million in Mississippi each year — totaling $441 million in property taxes in both states over 30 years. An executive summary of the report is posted on the Southern Cross Transmission website at www.southerncrosstransmission.com.
The project is expected to start construction in 2018 and begin delivering power in 2021. Project employment during the peak of the construction phase is anticipated to exceed 650 jobs. Southern Cross Transmission will hire locally whenever possible. Pattern Development has held vendor fairs in Louisiana and Mississippi to identify local vendors and contractors that are interested in participating.
Pattern Development has extensive experience in developing innovative solutions to complex transmission problems. Pattern Development's team of transmission experts has developed previous transmission projects, including the Trans Bay Cable project under San Francisco Bay. The Trans Bay Cable project is a groundbreaking submarine HVDC transmission line that was completed in 2010 and is presently serving up to 40% of San Francisco's and the northern peninsula's peak energy needs.