In 2015, Pattern began the development of the route through extensive environmental evaluations, public engagement, and collaboration with local officials and stakeholders in cooperation with state and federal agencies. A comprehensive initial Project Study Area was created for potential route alignments. From there, potential routes were developed based on social, environmental, and economic conditions as well as feedback from stakeholders. In 2016, communities were invited to participate in public meetings, including an online option, and provide information pertinent to the routing process. Following the open houses and collection of comments, route alternatives were modified, analyzed, and updated. Potential routes were submitted to state authorities but were later delayed due to market conditions.
In 2021, Southern Spirit reinitiated the project and began re-evaluating various alternative routes. The team is working with federal, state, and local agencies to collect information that informed the continued development of the proposed route. Pattern subsequently updated and refined the proposed route based on community development and changes in environmental conditions. Southern Spirit’s proposed route location has now been determined, with the exception of potential minor adjustments based on community landowner input.
As of summer, 2023, the Project is in the field study, right-of-way acquisition, and permitting phase of development. Southern Spirit is coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with other federal and state permitting agencies, such as state game and fish departments, state historic offices, and local levee districts, as the project develops. Construction will commence after the project obtains the necessary regulatory approvals and secures all land rights. Southern Spirit could be operational as early as late 2029.
its application to the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) for approval of a route corridor. Similarly, in February of 2023, the Project submitted an amended and updated version of its 2017 application to the Mississippi PSC for approval. Once the Project has cleared the required processes with the two Public Service Commissions the project team will work with various agencies to secure the necessary permits for the final Project route.
Southern Spirit is a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line. The use of HVDC technology results in higher overall efficiency, a smaller footprint, and fewer wires than a comparable alternating current (AC) system to transmit the same amount of power. Additionally, HVDC technology allows ERCOT’s islanded, asynchronous grid to access power sources that already exist today without having to build those additional power sources within Texas.
Yes. There are four (4) HVDC connections between Texas and the rest of the North American grid including two connecting to Mexico (Eagle Pass, Sharyland, Railroad), one to the western part of the U.S. grid and two to the eastern part of the U.S. grid.
Southern Spirit team members contact landowners with a goal of good-faith and open negotiations for an easement for the line. Details of Southern Spirit, property rights needed, location of the easement, and compensation are discussed with each property owner individually. In addition to following all state laws and applicable court rules regarding rights-of-way acquisition, Southern Spirit adheres to an internal code of ethics regarding land agreements and is committed to conducting easement negotiations in a manner that is fair to landowners and respectful of their private property rights.
Public input is a critical component of Southern Spirit’s development, and Pattern’s business approach. We invite feedback by phone, via the website, or through email. Landowners contacted about the Project will have a right-of-way agent who can assist them. We will host various forums along the proposed route to share information, solicit input and answer questions. We are committed to open communication and encourage you to get involved.
Southern Spirit represents a critical link between independent (i.e., asynchronous) grids, poised to deliver essential reliability benefits to both Texas and Southeastern states.
Given the escalating demand and electrification of transportation, commercial, and industrial sectors and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as Winter Storm Uri, the Texas power grid needs more tools to supply dependable power to consumers.
As an islanded power grid, ERCOT possesses limited connections to its neighboring grids. Texas’ constrained transmission system provides minimal avenues for securing reliable power during emergencies, resulting in billions of dollars in annual costs for Texas ratepayers. For instance, as demonstrated by a report from the American Council on Renewable Energy, short term access to additional capacity of 1 GW from a geographically diverse region could have prevented blackouts for approximately 200,000 Texas households and saved almost $1 billion during the severe weather conditions of Winter 2021.
By establishing connections between geographically and meteorologically diverse grids, Southern Spirit will bolster and fortify both systems, granting consumers access to more economical, dependable, and secure energy sources.