Xcel Energy improves power grid in rural Wilson, Texas

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LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) – The following is a news release from Xcel Energy:

Wilson, Texas, doesn’t boast of strip malls or industrial parks, and complaints about traffic are rare. Even so, towns such as Wilson are still vital to the economic success of Texas. 

Recognizing this, Xcel Energy has invested $1.5 million in a grid improvement project that converted the electrical facilities serving Wilson and its population of just under 500 people to a higher voltage, ensuring this farming community 30 minutes from downtown Lubbock has the modern infrastructure to build its economy and quality of life.

“The small communities of our Texas service area sometimes get overshadowed by the gains our larger towns in the region are making,” said Ben Jaime, manager for Community and Economic Development for Xcel Energy’s Texas South region. “But Wilson and so many other towns like it are an important part of our regional economy, and investments in the systems that deliver power in these communities benefit everyone on the South Plains in one way or another.”

Xcel Energy’s investment in Wilson has boosted the capability of the local grid to meet higher electricity demand from current and future customers without concern of straining the system. The upgrade also brought the voltage level to a 15-kilovolt company standard, which provides more options of tapping neighboring power sources in the event of an outage. Xcel Energy also has more replacement parts for a 15-kilovolt system, which helps crews make quicker repairs in the event of outages.

The flow of electric current is measured in amps, which can be likened to water moving through pipes. Voltage is much like pressure in water pipes, and is what allows amps to flow over power lines. The Wilson upgrade is increasing the “electrical pressure” of the lines that serve the community. 

Among the improvements made during the Wilson voltage conversion were:

  • Replacement of substation transformers
  • Replacement of 85 utility poles
  • Addition of four miles of neutral wire
  • Replacement of more than 60 customer transformers
  • Addition of system protection devices 

“Essentially, Wilson has a whole new power grid, and this investment has not only made the grid more capable but also more resilient when bad weather strikes,” Jaime said.

Jaime pointed out that Xcel Energy is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade and modernize the power grid, not just in Wilson, but around the region. And a systematic upgrade of the older, lower voltage distribution systems is a key part of that strategy.

“Our energy future in Xcel Energy’s southwest region is dependent upon timely investments in the facilities that generate and deliver power to our customers,” Jaime said. “The benefits of a project like the Wilson conversion will bring value to our customers for decades to come.”

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

(News release from Xcel Energy)

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