Pattern Energy Group LP has started construction on its SunZia Transmission project. The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, has issued its Notice to Proceed, allowing construction to begin on SunZia and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland joined senior elected and government officials to initiate the project’s groundbreaking at the SunZia East Converter Station in Corona, New Mexico.

SunZia Transmission is a 550-mile ± 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona with the capacity to transport 3,000 MW of clean, reliable, and affordable electricity across Western states. SunZia will deliver clean 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.

“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,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Through historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Interior Department is helping build modern, resilient climate infrastructure that protects our communities from the worsening impacts of climate change.”

“SunZia will have a massive economic impact in New Mexico, creating thousands of jobs in our rural communities while also bringing us one huge step closer to meeting our climate goals and conserving wildlife habitat. That’s why I fought hard for this project through a whole series of obstacles, and it’s why I’m thrilled to welcome the start of construction,” said Senator Martin Heinrich. “The proof is everywhere: the climate crisis is here, and it is the greatest threat we face. But solving the climate crisis by building out clean energy infrastructure like SunZia will also be the greatest economic opportunity of our lifetime.”

“New Mexico is beyond proud to be the home of such monumental work by Pattern Energy that is truly powering the future — all while creating hundreds of jobs and elevating our economy,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Projects like these are proof positive that climate action and economic development are not mutually exclusive.”

“SunZia is the successful result of a truly collaborative approach that accomplished something many thought was impossible,” said Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy. “We’re proud that SunZia is implementing industry-leading measures for environmental mitigation, including emerging technology and long-term conservation research. More than 2,000 workers will now roll up their sleeves and get to work on America’s largest clean energy infrastructure project, harnessing New Mexico’s powerful winds to deliver clean power to 3 million Americans.”

SunZia Transmission is setting a precedent with the gold standard in 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, wildlife and environmental conservation groups, and others to foster productive dialogue, listen to concerns and recommendations, and incorporate feedback. The resulting 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.

“More transmission is needed to reduce climate impacts and create a cleaner future where birds and people can thrive, and the SunZia project is a significant step forward in the expansion of our nation’s clean energy infrastructure,” said Jon Hayes, Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Southwest. “Audubon’s collaboration with Pattern Energy exemplifies how clean energy developers and conservation organizasions can work together to ensure that transmission projects use the latest data and science to minimise impacts on birds and communities.”

“SunZia is a model for planning and developing critical transmission projects that will advance our transition to clean energy,” said Fernando Martinez, Executive Director of the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA).  “SunZia is our second project partnership with Pattern Energy, following Western Spirit, and together they will be unlocking vast amounts of renewable wind resources and empowering New Mexico to power the west.” 

SunZia Transmission will deliver clean power generated by Pattern’s 3,500 MW SunZia Wind facility, 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 is proud to have partnered with federal and state land agencies on the SunZia Transmission route and 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 U.S. 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 support education and other public institutions.

Source: https://patternenergy.com/
Image source: Courtesy of Pattern Energy

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