Oncor vendor to transform junk cars into new grid

HOUSTON, March 16 Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:45pm GMT

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HOUSTON, March 16 (Reuters) - Dallas-based Oncor, the state's largest power delivery company, will use steel towers made from scrap steel for its $1.3 billion renewable energy transmission project, the company said on Monday.

The 3,800 steel towers to be built in Texas by Falcon Steel and supplier Nucor (NUE.N) will be used for 800 miles of transmission lines designed to bring power from wind farms in the western half of the state to cities were electricity is consumed, the companies said.

Falcon Steel, based near Fort Worth, will fabricate the 120 to 130-foot (37 to 40-meter) lattice transmission towers with steel milled from automotive and industrial scrap metal, Oncor said in a statement.

Nucors Jewett, Texas plant will provide 54,000 tons of steel for the project.

Texas leads the nation with more than 8,000 megawatts of wind-generating capacity, an electric source that produces no greenhouse gas.

Output from wind farms accounted for 4.9 percent of power consumed in the state in 2008, but the rapid addition of turbines outstripped the ability of the existing high-voltage network to move the power to the state's largest cities.

Oncor was among a number of companies approved to build sections of a $5 billion Texas grid expansion to accommodate additional wind power by 2013. In total, the expansion will add as much as 2,900 miles of power lines.

Oncor was assigned new lines valued at about $1.3 billion. "Oncor has a long history of being at the forefront of economic development and job creation in Texas, from the early days of bringing electricity to rural areas to our current efforts," said Bob Shapard, Oncor chief executive officer.

Falcon Steel and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor competed against larger, international firms to win the Oncor contract, the companies said.

Oncor's distribution and transmission network delivers power to about 3 million homes and businesses. Oncor is owned majority-owned by Energy Future Holdings Corp and is managed by an independent board of directors. (Reporting by Eileen O'Grady; Editing by John picinich)

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