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Tower of power: CREZ lines cross county

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ironically the No. 1 reason a pair of high-voltage lines are being built through Wise County is the same reason construction of the lines is sometimes delayed.

RIDING THE WIND - The towering line being built across north Wise County will carry wind-generated energy from West and Central Texas to the power-hungry Metroplex. It's one of two such lines crossing through the county. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

RIDING THE WIND – The towering line being built across north Wise County will carry wind-generated energy from West and Central Texas to the power-hungry Metroplex. It’s one of two such lines crossing through the county. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) transmission lines are designed to transfer wind energy created from giant spinning windmills located in the Panhandle and West and Central Texas to the highly populated Metroplex and other areas. And Wise County is directly in the path of the towering steel structures that rise like permanent oil rigs across the rolling landscape.

High winds blowing in February and March across North Texas has stymied some construction, but on a calm and warm Thursday, a team of workers, found themselves installing a Goliath of a tower in north Wise County.

“They were assembling a steel lattice tower,” said Sabrina Taylor, Oncor area manager. “It’s one of the most important types of towers we use in the project.”

The monstrous 160-foot tower contains more than 32,500 pounds of steel. It’s anchored in 42-foot deep holes held firm by concrete.

The tower is part of a double circuit line that is capable of carrying 345,000 volts of electricity along its swooping arcs over pastures and prairies, cows and cacti.

The CREZ lines are a response to a directive passed by the state legislature. The directive was passed by the legislature in 2005 to meet the state’s renewable energy goals. The Texas Public Utility Commission determined the path of the lines. Oncor transmits electricity for energy companies.

The line running through northern Wise County will end in the Krum area. It’s slated for completion sometime in May. Oncor is also building a matching line through south Wise County, scheduled for completion in June.

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