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Oncor seeks new substation

By: Odessa American |

Oncor officials are scouting land in Odessa to build another substation that will help the electric delivery company handle growing demand and relieve the grid.

Area Manager Gus Ortega described the project as in early stages and said Oncor has looked at several locations in recent weeks. He said company officials are analyzing usage and do not yet have a sense of what capacity the new facility would need or a timeline of when it will come online.

“We are just trying to look into the future to develop a new substation right now,” Ortega said.

Sites Oncor officials surveyed included land in the south JBS industrial park managed by Grow Odessa, better known by its former name, the Odessa Industrial Development Corporation.

“It’s just another indication that there’s enough development going on that everyone needs to step up their infrastructure,” said Drew Crutcher, the interim director of economic development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce who showed Oncor some industrial park land.

But company officials are not looking solely in the southern part of the city, Ortega said.

The oil boom brought with it strain on West Texas electricity grid that resulted in what is known as congestion, which occurs when heavy demand for power requires the electricity grid managers to draw from more-expensive power sources, such as older and less-efficient power plants.

Transmission improvements such as added substations are considered mid-term solutions that also help with stability, experts say. Examples of possible long-term solutions, outside of Oncor’s scope, include upgrades to area power plants in the area and upgrades to less efficient ones brought online during congestion.