Environmental Protection

Oncor, Falcon Steel to Use Scrap Metal for Transmission Towers

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger on March 16 praised the creative thinking and cooperative spirit demonstrated by Oncor, Falcon Steel, and supplier Nucor in crafting a five-year agreement to build 3,800 transmission line towers out of recycled steel.

The Oncor-Falcon Steel contract will result in one of the largest transmission line construction projects built from recycled materials in the United States.

The 120- to130-foot lattice towers will serve as the backbone for more than 800 miles of transmission lines, dubbed the "Renewable Energy Super Highway," that will move wind power from West Texas to the rest of the state.

"This is a homegrown project that will provide good jobs here in Texas. Best of all, everything about the project is designed with environmental concerns in mind," Granger said. "Every transmission tower on this project will represent another step on the way to energy independence."

Falcon Steel, based in Haltom City, Texas, will fabricate transmission towers for Oncor from steel milled from automotive and industrial scrap metal. Nucor’s Jewett, Texas plant will provide 54,000 tons of steel to Falcon Steel for the project. Fabrication will begin immediately, while construction will start later this year. Falcon Steel and Nucor competed against much larger, international firms to win the contract.

The Renewable Energy Super Highway is being constructed as part of a broader initiative by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to construct transmission improvements designed to interconnect existing and future renewable energy facilities to transmit electricity from Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) identified by the PUCT.

At a January 2009 open meeting, the PUCT assigned Oncor approximately $1.3 billion of an estimated $5 billion in CREZ construction projects. The estimates of cost and number of line miles are based on analyses prepared by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Oncor expects a written order with respect to the construction project assignments will be entered by the PUCT soon.

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