Louisiana bill threatens wind-heavy transmission line

By Adam Aton | 04/29/2024 06:20 AM EDT

The proposal is the latest complication of U.S. efforts to build out its transmission network.

The sun sets over a wind farm near Del Rio, Texas, on Feb. 15, 2023.

The sun sets over a wind farm near Del Rio, Texas, on Feb. 15, 2023. Eric Gay/AP

A long-planned transmission line that would link Texas’ wind-heavy grid to Mississippi — along with much of the Midwest — is facing new obstacles as Louisiana lawmakers move to tighten the state’s eminent domain laws.

The Southern Spirit transmission line, planned to span 320 miles between Texas and Mississippi, would cross northern Louisiana without distributing power to the state directly. Project developer Pattern Energy says Louisiana still would benefit because it shares a grid with Mississippi.

But some landowners in the transmission line’s path argue the project will not serve the state, so the company should not have the right to expropriate their land — a court process of seizing land for publicly important projects if voluntary agreements can’t be struck.


Now, lawmakers are considering legislation that would block expropriation for the project. S.B. 108 would let developers of transmission lines and other electricity projects use expropriation only if most of the power’s end-users are in Louisiana.