Southern Spirit Transmission

Documents and Resources


Southern Spirit Transmission Compliance Filing

FERC Order Directing Interconnection

Southern Spirit Transmission Fact Sheet

Code of Conduct, Pattern Energy Employees and Representatives

Tower Structure Diagrams

Electromagnetic Frequencies, Direct Current Transmission FAQ

AC EMF Fact Sheet

HVDC EMF Fact Sheet

Economic Impact

Louisiana Economic and Fiscal Impacts

Mississippi Economic and Fiscal Impacts


Study Area Map

Mississippi Expropriation Statues Relied Upon by Pattern Energy

MS Public Service Commission Rules


Study Area Map

Louisiana Expropriation Statutes Relied Upon by Pattern Energy


TX Property Code on Eminent Domain

Is HVDC technology deployed in Texas today?

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.

Education and FAQ

What is Southern Spirit Transmission?

Southern Spirit Transmission (Southern Spirit, Project) is a new transmission line under development by Pattern Energy to connect regional grid systems; the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) with energy markets in the southeastern U.S. The Project will facilitate a valuable connection to diverse energy resources and provide significant reliability benefits throughout both regions. It will allow regional utility providers to access reliable, affordable energy in times of need and to transport excess power in either direction.

Why is Southern Spirit needed?

Southern Spirit creates a backbone between the Texas and Southeast power markets. Currently, there is no connection between these grids. Without sufficient and steady supply, electricity prices surge, rolling blackouts are instituted, and in extreme events, power is lost.  Events like 2021 Texas Winter Storm Uri illustrated the importance of having access to additional power resources especially in times of extreme weather conditions.  Enabling transmission between geographically diverse regions helps achieve this reliability need.

Who benefits from Southern Spirit?

Southern Spirit provides access to reliable electricity from diverse sources, which translates to electric ratepayer savings. More than $2.6 billion in new private infrastructure investment provide widespread direct and indirect job creation, plus economic benefits including use of local materials and services. The Project also Expected to generate $3.8 million in local economic impact over the project’s construction phase for first 40 years

What is the history of the Project and how was the route selected?  

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. 

What is Pattern Energy’s experience developing and constructing electric transmission infrastructure?

Pattern Energy is a leading renewable energy and infrastructure development company that develops, constructs, owns, and operates high-quality wind and solar generation, transmission, and energy storage facilities.  Our track record on transmission includes the development, construction, financing and management of the first HVDC transmission line in California, the TransBay Cable; the completion and operation of a 1000+ MW, 155-mile transmission line in New Mexico, Western Spirit; and the development and construction of hundreds of miles of shorter transmission lines to connect more than 30 operational power facilities worldwide.

What local business opportunities might be associated with the project?

We will need a wide variety of services, materials and equipment to construct the Project, such as surveying, right-of-way clearing and concrete pouring. We want to hire qualified local businesses for the Project. To stay informed of our progress and be notified when we seek subcontractors, please submit your business information on our website at

Has the name changed?

Southern Cross Transmission has evolved to become Southern Spirit Transmission, a nod to the largest renewable energy project in US history, Western Spirit Wind, and Pattern’s most recent success, Western Spirit Transmission. We look forward to providing Project updates under this new name as we move through development and prepare for construction.

What regulatory approvals are needed for Southern Spirit?

In February of 2023, the Project submitted 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.   

What are the advantages of HVDC technology?

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.   

How does Southern Spirit acquire rights-of-way? 

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. 

How wide is the right-of way (ROW)?

Right-of-way refers to the land area needed for a specific purpose, such as easements for a transmission line. Together all of the easements make up the right-of-way for the project. We estimate that the right-of-way for Southern Spirit will typically be approximately 180 – 200 feet wide. The right-of-way width requirement is largely determined by how close structures are placed to each other, terrain, and clearance requirements. Some additional areas may be necessary for lay-down or access during construction or operation; the Project will provide compensation for use of these areas through separate agreements with landowners.

If the route doesn’t cross my property, do I still need to be part of the process?

Individuals and families with a long history of working and living in the area may inform the route development process, even if the route does not directly impact their property. We will notify landowners near the route and encourage all potentially affected landowners and neighbors to remain engaged in the routing process.

What activities are allowed within easement right-of-way?

Property owners may continue to own lands covered by an easement and make use of the land consistent with the property’s current use. For example, the area within the easement may still be used for hunting and typical agricultural purposes. Easements restrict the placement of buildings and structures within the easement area only, to ensure safety and reliability. Easements also afford rights for clearing and removal of vegetation. Easement crossings are approved and coordinated by affected landowners and Southern Spirit Transmission Project.

How long does construction take?

Construction will take two to three years and could begin as soon as 2025.

How many jobs will the project create?

Southern Spirit is estimated to create more than 3,000 construction jobs. High voltage electrical work is very specialized and will require highly trained labor as well as general labor. The Southern Spirit Transmission Project developers want to partner with local vendors and procure local resources. If you have questions about being a supplier or are interested in working on the Southern Spirit Transmission Project, please contact us.

What portion of right-of-way needs to be cleared?

The amount of right-of-way required to be cleared for transmission line operation depends on the type of vegetation. Most agriculture crops (with the exception of tree crops), pasture lands and grasslands do not need to be cleared for the operation of the line. Trees and other vegetation over 10 feet tall usually need to be cleared and managed based on safety and reliability considerations. 

Will I be reimbursed for crops or timber that are damaged or removed for construction?

Yes. The value of crops or timber is assessed with the total value of the easement. Crops are assessed at the current market rate and timber is valued by a licensed timber appraiser. Your land agent will help you file a damage claim whenever warranted.

Will my property be restored once construction is complete?

Yes. Areas affected by construction of the line will be restored. Typical restoration consists of grading and seeding with a native grass seed mix. Any temporary access roads will be loosened, graded, seeded and restored to pre-existing conditions wherever possible, and always in coordination with the landowner.

What is the maintenance plan for the line? Do you ever use helicopters?

There will be a regular maintenance plan for the line. The plan will involve visual inspections, typically by helicopter, a couple times a year. Needed repairs are generally made by land-based crews and trucks. Landowners will be notified prior to any scheduled maintenance work conducted on their property. Emergency repairs are performed immediately as they arise; Pattern Energy will notify landowners as soon as possible.

How do you maintain vegetation in the right-of-way? Do you use chemical herbicides?

Rights-of-way are maintained to ensure compliance with reliability and safety standards. Pattern Energy works with landowners to plan maintenance responsibly and in consideration of local practices. Pattern works with environmental agencies and conservation organizations for input on best practices for vegetation management. Prior to beginning operations, Pattern Energy issues a Transmission Vegetation Management Plan, which includes standards and operating guides to ensure safe and low impact right-of-way maintenance. Additionally, on organic farms, no herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers or uncertified seed will be applied unless requested and approved by the landowner.

How can a member of the provide public input on this project?

Public input is a critical component of Southern Spirit’s development, and Pattern’s business approach. We invite feedback by phone at (888) 412.6339, via the website, or through email at [email protected]. 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.   

Who is considered a stakeholder of the project?  

A stakeholder is any person interested in the project including but not limited to individual landowners and neighbors; federal, state and local government entities and agencies; elected officials; local businesses and business organizations; non-governmental organizations and civic and community organizations.  

What is a converter station? 

A converter station is a facility that converts electricity from AC to DC and vice versa. There is a converter station on each end of the Southern Spirit Transmission Project, with a transmission line in between. A converter station usually looks similar to a large switchyard or substation but has buildings that are not typical of a substation. These buildings are around 70ft tall because equipment is hung from the ceilings. 

What structures will be used? 

Southern Spirit is considering tubular steel monopole structures for straight line runs and lattice steel structures for corners and crossings (such as rivers, highways and other long spans.) The structures will be approximately 120-150 feet tall with spans (spacing) of approximately 1,000 to 1,200 feet Other structure types are also being considered for specific land uses cases. Structure type selection is subject to final route and design.  

Can the line be buried?   

While construction of an underground transmission line is technically possible, the land impacts are greater due to electric code requirements with regard to how the cables are buried and this would have a larger impact on landowners. Additionally, limited availability of cables for this application as well as construction equipment to install the cables makes underground options less certain. Finally, this type of construction, if the required equipment is available, is cost-prohibitive. 

Why can’t more capacity be added to existing lines? 

The main objective of the Project is to provide bi-directional transmission capability to deliver energy between two disconnected parts of the U.S. power grid. These regions are disconnected both by law and by engineering design. There are currently no transmission lines that can be modified to accomplish the objective of this Project.  

Will the line affect hunting on my property? 

Southern Spirit easements do not restrict hunting, except in very limited circumstances during active construction for safety reasons. Transmission lines can actually improve hunting because deer and certain other animals favor open areas near wooded areas (edge habitat). Landowners may still utilize their property within the easement for hunting or for hunting leases. No structures, stands, or blinds are allowed in the easement area however, and care must be taken to avoid damage to the transmission lines and structures. 

How are environmental concerns addressed? 

An environmental review is conducted to identify, avoid and/or minimize impacts to environmentally sensitive areas. Once a route is selected, a survey of the right-of-way for environmentally sensitive areas, such as wetlands and threatened and endangered species habitats, along with cultural resources, is conducted. Any required permits and clearances from state and federal environmental agencies are then obtained.  

Will the transmission line interfere with radio, television, cell phone or GPS reception? 

FM radio, television, cell phones, and GPS signals are not affected by an HVDC transmission line. If there is AM radio frequency interference, it typically occurs immediately under a transmission line and dissipates rapidly away from the line.

How will the line affect/serve my electric utility? 

The transmission line will cross utility service territories but not necessarily result in direct sales to specific utilities within the region the transmission line traverses.  Based on how the energy markets operate in Texas and the southeastern U.S., introduction of another low-cost source of power will result in overall reductions in energy prices that will eventually result in lower energy bills. Southern Spirit provides direct access to diverse affordable resources and is expected to result in consumer savings.  

Do transmission lines cause illness or have health risks? 

Transmission lines are not considered dangerous to humans. In fact, the magnetic fields from HVDC transmission lines are similar in nature and generally weaker than the Earth’s magnetic field. HVDC transmission projects have different electric and magnetic fields from typical AC transmission or distribution lines serving our homes and businesses. The current and voltage on an AC line changes directions 60 times per second creating a fluctuating magnetic and electric field while HVDC line current and voltage flow constantly in one direction and create static electric and magnetic fields. Again, neither of these fields are considered harmful (DC or AC) and both DC and AC transmission lines are needed to deliver power by the Project and ultimately get the power to consumers.