Pattern Energy, a prominent player in the renewable energy and transmission infrastructure sector, has commenced construction on the SunZia Transmission project. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management has issued the crucial Notice to Proceed, paving the way for the construction of SunZia, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bolstering clean energy transmission infrastructure.
In a momentous event, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, alongside senior elected officials and government representatives, gathered at the SunZia East Converter Station in Corona, New Mexico, to mark the commencement of this transformative project.
The SunZia Transmission project is a colossal 550-mile ± 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line, set to connect central New Mexico with south-central Arizona. This transmission line has the impressive capacity to transport 3,000 MW of clean, reliable, and affordable electricity across the Western United States, serving as a vital conduit for renewable energy.
SunZia Transmission’s significance is further magnified as it will facilitate the delivery of clean power from Pattern’s SunZia Wind project, which is touted as the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere. Remarkably, SunZia Wind and SunZia Transmission collectively constitute the most expansive clean energy infrastructure endeavor in U.S. history.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland articulated the importance of the SunZia Transmission Project, stating, “The SunZia Transmission Project will accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy by unlocking renewable resources, creating jobs, lowering costs, and boosting local economies.”
SunZia Transmission is poised to deliver the clean power generated by Pattern’s SunZia Wind facility, a 3,500 MW wind energy project under construction across Torrance, Lincoln, and San Miguel Counties in New Mexico. This transmission line will enable SunZia Wind to supply clean power to Western states during peak demand periods, enhancing the reliability of clean energy sources.
Pattern Energy has worked in collaboration with federal and state land agencies to chart the SunZia Transmission route, which encompasses over 30 percent federal land, including lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project has also secured right-of-way agreements with the New Mexico State Land Office and the Arizona State Land Department, with payments directed toward supporting education and public institutions in these states.
Pattern Energy recently unveiled projections that the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects are anticipated to generate an astounding $20.5 billion in total economic benefits, including over $8 billion in direct capital investments. Importantly, these benefits are expected to be realized without any added cost to ratepayers.
According to an independent study conducted by Energy, Economic & Environment Consultants LLC, the combined projects will generate an estimated $1.3 billion in fiscal impacts, benefitting governments, communities, and schools through sales and use taxes, property taxes, community benefit payments, and land payments to federal and state agencies.
The SunZia Transmission project represents a significant stride towards a sustainable, clean energy future, bolstering the United States’ position as a leader in renewable energy infrastructure.