Ground has been broken on the TransWest Express (TWE) Transmission Project – a high-voltage interregional transmission system adding capacity to deliver renewable energy across the Western United States power grid. Federal, state and local officials attended the event, including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place on the Overland Trail Ranch, a working cattle ranch south of Rawlins, Wyo., where the TWE Project’s northern HVDC terminal is sited.
The 732-mile HVDC and HVAC TWE Project will provide important new bulk transmission capacity to benefit the entire West. It will interconnect with the PacifiCorp system in Wyoming, with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and Intermountain Power systems in Utah, with the NV Energy system in Nevada and with the California Independent System Operator.
“The TWE Project’s successful development represents recognition by stakeholders of all kinds and at all levels that collaborating to build a stronger power grid is vital to build a stronger nation,” says Bill Miller, president and CEO of TransWest Express LLC. “Now, we look forward and are focused on assuring the TWE Project’s successful construction.”
TWE’s primary construction partners are Siemens Energy Inc. for the HVDC terminal technology and Barnard Wilson Joint Venture for the transmission line and AC substations. TransWest also is partnering with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Union of Operating Engineers.
In April, the Bureau of Land Management, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, issued its Notice to Proceed for the TWE Project, which was the final federal authorization needed to start construction. Underscoring the national significance of the TWE Project, federal entities identified it in 2011 as critical transmission infrastructure to complete.
The TWE Project will be the Western power grid’s largest transmission addition in decades. It will connect three planning regions in the West, while adding 3,000 MW of high-voltage capacity from Wyoming to Utah and 1,500 MW of high-voltage capacity from Utah to the Desert Southwest (Nevada, California, Arizona). The project also will provide the West with new access to wind-generated electricity from Carbon County. The TWE Project is expected to be energized in 2027.
“The groundbreaking event for the TransWest Express demonstrates yet another example of how Wyoming is continuing its energy leadership,” says Gov. Gordon. We are glad to be able to provide energy to primarily California and Nevada consumers, who want what Wyoming has to offer.”