Pattern Energy Group LP, a renewable energy and transmission infrastructure company, has begun construction on its SunZia Transmission project, a 550-mile ±525 kV high-voltage direct current transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona with the capacity to transport 3 GW of electricity across Western states.
The Bureau of Land Management has issued its Notice to Proceed, allowing construction to commence.
SunZia will deliver power from Pattern’s SunZia Wind project, the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, which will be simultaneously constructed with SunZia Transmission. Together, SunZia Wind and SunZia Transmission are the largest clean energy infrastructure project in U.S. history.
SunZia Transmission is setting a precedent with environmental mitigation efforts developed hand-in-hand with key stakeholders. Throughout the development process the SunZia team worked closely with the public, BLM, landowners, ranchers, numerous wildlife and environmental conservation groups and others to foster productive dialogue, listen to concerns and recommendations and incorporate feedback.
The resulting mitigation efforts range from restoring thousands of acres of wildlife habitat to investing in emerging technology and long-term conservation research. SunZia Wind has also established robust environmental best practices to reduce project impacts and study effective habitat restoration strategies in partnership with local and state experts.
SunZia Transmission will deliver clean power generated by Pattern’s 3,500 MW SunZia Wind facility, which is being constructed across Torrance, Lincoln and San Miguel Counties in New Mexico. SunZia Transmission will enable SunZia Wind to supply clean power to Western states when demand is high.
Pattern partnered with federal and state land agencies on the SunZia Transmission route, as well as hundreds of private landowners. Federal land makes up over 30% of the total project route and includes lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. SunZia Transmission has also signed right of way agreements with the New Mexico State Land Office and the Arizona State Land Department; in each case payments to these state agencies go to support education and other public institutions.
Pattern Energy recently announced that the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects are expected to generate $20.5 billion dollars in total economic benefit, which includes over $8 billion of direct capital investment, at no added cost to ratepayers, according to the results of an independent study conducted by the research firm Energy, Economic & Environment Consultants LLC. Together, the projects will generate an expected $1.3 billion in fiscal impacts that will go to governments, communities, and schools. These benefits are generated through sales and use taxes, property taxes, community benefit payments, and land payments to federal and state agencies.