Transmission projects have the potential to unlock 10,000 MWs of renewable energy across the West
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2022
WASHINGTON — The Biden-Harris administration through the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced significant milestones on three transmission projects that will carry renewable energy across the West, underscoring President Biden’s commitment to accelerating the needed expansion and modernization of America’s power infrastructure to create good-paying union jobs and deliver affordable clean energy to American businesses and homeowners.
If approved, these transmission projects have the potential to unlock 10,000 MWs of clean, affordable, and reliable energy across the West. The projects will help build a reliable, resilient electric grid critical to withstand climate change impacts and make progress towards achieving President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.
“The Department of the Interior continues to make significant progress in President Biden’s efforts to spur a clean energy revolution, strengthen and decarbonize the nation’s economy, and help communities transition to a clean energy future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Transmission projects like those advanced today offer a promising path for diversifying our national energy portfolio and connecting more renewable energy, while at the same time combatting climate change and investing in communities.”
“The actions we are prioritizing will advance clean energy production in the 21st century and ensure that that energy will be able to reach markets,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “We are proud to work collaboratively with states, cities, and other stakeholders to move these projects forward and help meet this administration’s clean energy goals.”
The BLM is releasing its draft Environmental Impact Statement for the SunZia Transmission Project in New Mexico and Arizona and is initiating two more major transmission line environmental reviews for the Greenlink West and Cross-Tie projects in Nevada and Utah. Those Notices of Intent will be published in the Federal Register.
The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project includes two planned 500 kV transmission lines located across approximately 520 miles of federal, state, and private lands between central New Mexico and central Arizona. BLM is carrying out this environmental review in response to the company’s application to amend its 2016 right-of-way grant for the original SunZia Southwest Transmission Project. If approved, the project would transport up to 4,500 megawatts of energy from New Mexico to markets in Arizona and California. Via a Federal Register notice, the bureau will open a 90-day public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to analyze potential environmental impacts associated with the Project. To ensure robust public participation in the planning and evaluation of the project, the BLM is scheduling three virtual public meetings via Zoom.
The proposed Greenlink West Transmission Project is a system of new 525-kilovolt (kV), 345-kV, 230-kV, and 120-kV electric transmission facilities located across approximately 423 miles of private, state, and federal lands between northern and southern Nevada. If approved this line has the potential to unlock up to 5,000 MW of renewable energy. On May 2, BLM will publish a Federal Register notice to begin a 30-day scoping period to take public comments on issues and resource information to be analyzed in the environmental review of the proposed project. To ensure robust public participation, the BLM will announce and hold four public meetings in the North Las Vegas, Beatty, Tonopah, and Reno areas during the scoping period.
Additionally, the Cross-Tie 500-kV Transmission Project is a proposed approximately 214-mile, 1500 MW, 500 kV high-voltage alternating current transmission project that would be constructed between central Utah and east-central Nevada, to the maximum extent possible, within federally designated utility corridors or parallel to existing transmission facilities. The proposed project would cross BLM, private, state, and National Forest System land, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service will be a cooperating agency to concurrently review the potential environmental impacts. If approved, the Cross-Tie line may unlock up to 1,500 MW of renewable energy. BLM will publish a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement in the Federal Register on May 2, which will initiate a 30-day public scoping period.
These significant steps follow a recent announcement by the Department outlining actions to advance the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable power on public lands by 2025. These efforts support the Department’s strategy to responsibly unlock and deliver the full potential of renewable energy on our public lands and waters, while creating good-paying union jobs and reducing emissions.