T&D World – Xcel Energy uses flexible static VAR compensator topology to adapt to changing network conditions in New Mexico for more stability and voltage control.
In 2010, Xcel Energy Inc. was tasked by Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP) to build out the transmission system in southeast New Mexico, U.S., because the oil and gas industry in the area had a growing need for electricity. Oil producers were asking to convert from expensive diesel to more affordable electricity for their pumps. The request from SPP consisted of a transmission system expansion of new 115-kV and 345-kV projects in the region. Spending had to be prioritized between 2010 and 2021 because of the sheer scale of the plan needed to successfully implement the request.
Xcel Energy addressed the plan by implementing projects classified as high priority. This plan resulted in initiating 44 new transmission projects, an investment of US$557 million. In 2016, two static VAR compensators (SVCs) — the China Draw and Roadrunner — were built in southeast New Mexico to support SPP’s request.