The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council, part of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, has unanimously approved the TransWest Express (TWE) Transmission Project, which will deliver large amounts of energy, including wind power, to homes and businesses across the Western U.S.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Wyoming’s approval concludes state permitting and continues the strong momentum for the 730-mile TWE project, a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) and high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) system designed to provide Western energy markets with access to diverse wind resources.
AWEA notes that about two-thirds of the TWE project is located on federal land. The required federal environmental analysis was completed between 2008 and 2016, and federal rights-of-way, easements and licenses were issued for the TWE project in 2017 and 2018.
“By approving important transmission infrastructure projects like TWE, Wyoming authorities are further diversifying the state’s economy and unleashing a new wave of local economic investment, including jobs, millions of dollars each year in landowner payments, and millions more in property taxes,” says Amy Farrell, senior vice president of government and public affairs at AWEA. “This project also means Wyoming will be able to deliver the affordable, reliable, clean energy that customers across the West are increasingly demanding.”
The Wyoming state permit was granted after the council found that the transmission project complied with all applicable laws and regulations and that it will not pose a threat to the environment or area inhabitants, among other key regulatory criteria. Project developer TransWest Express LLC has additional commercial and regulatory steps ahead, but the remaining local permitting and right-of-way acquisition are nearly complete. Project construction is estimated to begin in 2020.
“America’s critical energy infrastructure needs a reboot to efficiently serve the 21st-century economy,” adds Farrell. “Good transmission planning and swift permitting at all levels should help our country quickly advance infrastructure projects that are so clearly in the public interest. Moving new transmission projects forward strengthens our national grid by making it more resilient while also creating good jobs and boosting local tax revenues for years to come.”