Power and Renewables

Navigating power gridlock: How planned transmission lines will impact congestion

byKatherine Paton-Ilse

In an era where electricity demands continue to escalate, the importance of a reliable and efficient electrical grid cannot be overstated. Transmission lines form the backbone of the power grid, crucial for transmission and distribution of electricity from power generation sources to residential and commercial locations. As demand has increased in areas such as ERCOT, congestion on the network has become a significant challenge.

As grid modernization gains momentum through the integration of new technologies and updated infrastructure, we turn our attention to Hamilton – Maverick (Ham-Mav), a persistent bottleneck in ERCOT over the past several years. This line has experienced particularly intense congestion in 2023. The burning question: Could 2024 bring about a shift?

According to AEP, work has commenced on the Brackettville – Escondido 138kV line, which is projected to make a significant difference to the constraints along the Ham-Mav path by offering an alternative route into the Eagle Pass area, potentially changing grid dynamics.


Source: Enverus Power & Renewables Foundations & Project Tracking Analytics – Planned transmission lines in ERCOT

About the Hamilton Maverick Line

Over the past few years, the Ham-Mav line has increased congestion and price. According to ERCOT in July 2023, a maximum shadow price was set at $2,000/MWh for peak times. Enverus analysis shows a year over year growth in day ahead compared to real time prices – a prime opportunity for power traders. Below shows the total shadow price for all versions of Ham-Mav by year.  


Source: Enverus MUSE Congestion Analytics – Hamilton – Maverick Line 2020-2023, blue represents Day Ahead (DA), red represents Real-Time (RA) LMP prices, yellow line relates to right y-axis and is the rank by shadow price of the Hamilton congestion

About the Brackettville – Escondido Line Project

The Enverus Power & Renewables Research team successfully mapped out the intended route, with precise digitization by the Enverus GIS teams. The construction phase of the project officially commenced in January 2023, with an anticipated operational launch slated for February 2024. Interestingly, as of September 2023, there have been no significant reports from major sources regarding the initiation of construction for this pivotal transmission line. Upon closer examination of operating and planned projects within a 5-mile buffer, we can identify projects and substations located nearby the future operating line and the companies behind those projects:


Source: Enverus Power & Renewables Foundations & Project Tracking Analytics


Source: Enverus Project Tracking Analytics, Operating and planned projects on the Brackettville-Escondido Line by capacity


Source: Enverus Project Tracking Analytics, Planned capacity expected to come online by year around the Brackettville-Escondido Line


Source: Enverus Project Tracking Analytics, Planned capacity expected to come online in 2024

Impacts of the new line for congestion and planned assets

As mentioned, Ham-Mav has been one of the top constraints over the past several years in ERCOT. More generally, this region, whether around Uvalde or further south between Asherton – Catarina – Piloncillo, has experienced notable congestion issues.

Once completed, the new Brackettville-Escondido line is expected to greatly reduce the Ham-Mav congestion. This is because it will support the local load and essentially serve as a parallel path to the Eagle Pass area, having almost 4x the rating of Ham-Mav. This should also curtail congestion between Uvalde and Asherton.

However, it’s anticipated impact on congestion between Asherton and Piloncillo will be relatively modest. This underscores the importance of understanding the congestion patterns between the two points, as the direction of binding can flip. Asherton – Caterina congestion typically occurs when North Central and Far West regions generate strong power but lack counterbalance from the South. The image below shows the impact of the congestion, with shading based on the shift factors:


Source: Enverus MUSE Congestion Analytics – Green represents the source, red indicates the sink

How Enverus can help

Enverus Power and Renewables provides solutions for the entire power and renewables lifecycle to help maximize your returns and optimize your asset value.

We help you at every stage of your project’s lifecycle, from helping understand where you fit within the energy transition, finding the best project sites, engineering optimal project designs, optimizing asset operations and maximizing trading profits.

To learn more about the solutions shared in this analysis, please complete the form below.

Katherine Paton-Ilse

Katherine Paton-Ilse

Katherine graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. She has been at Enverus for 3 years, working on the Power and Renewables Research team as a Research Analyst II. The majority of her work is in the ERCOT market where she tracks power generation, transmission, and LMP data.

Subscribe to the Enverus Blog

A weekly update on the latest “no-fluff” insight and analysis of the energy industry.

Related Content

Energy Transition
ByAlex Nevokshonoff

Each hub developed a unique hydrogen production strategy that was chosen to best utilize the regionally available resources such as renewable energy type and quality, nuclear availability, existing infrastructure and carbon sequestration basin viability.

OFS-banner-485926689 (1)
ByErin Faulkner

Nearly a decade ago, Enverus, then known as DrillingInfo, posted a Gulf of Mexico (GOM) primer on its blog. It remains one of our most popular posts. A few things have changed since 2014, so we decided it was time...

Electric Vehicle Charging
Energy Transition
ByPrashant Kumar

The electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid EV markets are experiencing significant growth in North America, Europe and China. The surge in demand has prompted notable advancements in battery technology to cater to the expanding market.

Energy Analytics Financial Services
ByTucker Keren

The North American play-level inventory rankings are in, and there’s been some shakeups. After almost a year since the last publication by Enverus Intelligence Research (EIR), the remaining inventory by play has seen some movement on the leaderboards. While EIR...

Enverus Blog - What you should know about the future of mineral acquisitions
ByPhillip Dunning

Take the guess work out of providing your family insights into the estate and be empowered to manage your assets.

Intelligence Midstream
ByErin Faulkner

Midstream operators connected 3,524 oil and gas wells to gathering systems in the U.S. during Q2, according to an analysis using Enverus Core data presented in the most recent issue of Midstream Pulse. This is up slightly from the 3,447...

Energy Transition Financial Services

The shift away from hydrocarbons and towards renewable and low-carbon technologies is not only changing the way we power our lives, but also offers a wealth of investment opportunities for those who can decipher the complex landscape. Traditional institutional investors...

Enverus Blog - Analyst Takes: Looking back at March energy trends
Analyst Takes Trading and Risk
ByChris Griggs

As we commence October, it’s crucial to examine the ever-evolving energy landscape from the past month. Our Enverus Intelligence® | Research (EIR) team has diligently dissected key trends and breakthroughs, delivering insightful and data-driven perspectives that empower you to make...

Power and Renewables

2022 marked a significant milestone for renewable wind generation in North America. New wind capacity reached 14.7GW (gigawatts) from 93 projects, an increase from 2021 of 12GW from 54 projects. Looking to 2024, winds of opportunity show 55GW from a...

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Sign up for our Blog

Register Today

Get Energy Transition Research updates straight to your inbox by filling out the form below.

Sign Up

Power Your Insights

Connect with an Expert

Access Product Tour

Speak to an Expert