The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) assigned approximately $5 billion of transmission projects to be constructed in Texas’ Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) at an open meeting last Thursday.

The awards follow the PUC’s July 2008 selection of a $4.93 billion transmission scenario that will eventually transmit 18,456 MW of wind power from power-heavy West Texas and the Panhandle to highly populated metropolitan areas of the state. The regulatory body expects that the new lines will be in service within four or five years.

Senate Bill 20, which the Texas legislature passed in 2005, directed the PUC to select the most productive wind zones in the state and devise a transmission plan to move power generated from these zones to various populated areas in the state.

Dallas-based Oncor won the largest project, worth $1.34 billion. “Oncor is now focused on building the section we were awarded on-time and on budget,” Charles Jenkins, senior vice president of the company’s transmission and system operations, said in statement. “Oncor is already working with vendors to ensure the availability of equipment and contractors to expedite the CREZ projects.” In the coming weeks, the company said that it would start closing on the purchase of land and begin detailed engineering of the priority lines.

The PUC said it would issue a final order in a month. It provided a breakdown of how the transmission projects were awarded to the following companies:

Oncor  $1.34 billion
Electric Transmission Texas  $789 million
Lower Colorado River Authority $750 million
Lone Star Transmission  $564 million
Wind Energy Transmission Texas  $402 million
Sharyland Utilities  $394 million
Cross Texas Transmission $390 million
Sources: Texas Public Utility Commission, Oncor