PUC approves wind transmission line near Amarillo

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Public Utility Commission has approved a $190 million wind energy transmission line route planned near Amarillo.

The three-member commission Wednesday unanimously approved the plan by Sharyland Utilities L.P. that will loop west and north of Amarillo.

Critics of the 91-mile route raised environmental and residential concerns. The project will involve electric transmission towers about 125 feet high and spaced 1,000 feet apart.

The Amarillo Globe-News reported Thursday that the PUC approval includes some latitude for landowners to negotiate small changes if there are savings, such as using single poles instead of towers.

Rancher William Seewald says it still means there will be "a huge swath of destroyed grassland and endangered creeks and streams."

Sharyland spokeswoman Jeanne Phillips says construction should begin in the spring and take about 18 months.

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Information from: Amarillo Globe-News, http://www.amarillo.com