Taking the Lead

Excerpt from Strategize Magazine | Winter 2012 | pp. 14-17

Working Together

On the CREZ assignments, Oncor Electric Delivery has seamlessly blended its groups of contractors and partners into an efficient team. All stakeholders are united under the common goal of advance planning, which Speed says was the key to making the project run smoothly.

“We started preparing for the potential of a CREZ undertaking over a year before we were even awarded a project,” he says. “This advanced preparation allowed us to organize a combination of existing Oncor resources, skilled contractors and reliable suppliers to meet the demands of the CREZ transmission build. To effectively manage this blend of resources, we created a new Project Management Office, with the main responsibility of managing these relationships and ensuring good communication.”

It wasn’t just communication that helped meet the demand, some suppliers went above and beyond and this was summed up best by one of Oncor’s core partners in the projects – M&S Engineering. The emphasis placed on interaction was critical especially considering the added level of complexity brought on by the schedule and priorities associated with the CREZ projects.

Brian Meuth, President for M&S Engineering explains; “Since communication has historically been key in our success with other Oncor projects, it was natural for M&S to evolve and provide additional services such as surveying, subsurface utility engineering, utility conflict resolution, foundation design and development of standards. In doing so, we became an additional conduit for which the project teams could gather real-time data, and make educated decisions in a short timeframe.”

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“In doing so, we became an additional conduit for which the project teams could gather real-time data, and make educated decisions in a short time frame.”
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The total cost of the CREZ project for the PUCT is $7 billion, with $2 billion and 1,000 miles of transmission work assigned to Oncor. The overall project will contain 3,500 miles of new 345-kV transmission lines that will move up to 18,500 MW of wind power across the state.

Whilst the cornerstone of the CREZ project involves enabling open access to renewable energy sources, it will also ease congestion and permit conventional power facilities to be built in the western region of Texas.

“Eliminating grid congestion for renewable generation and creating new opportunities for conventional generation are both important benefits of the CREZ initiative,” Speed says. “Because the CREZ transmission facilities are open access, they will be available to transport both renewable and conventional generation from west Texas into the major load centers. Having this capacity in place and available will aid Texas as it addresses generation adequacy issues over the next several years.”

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