April 28, 2021

Two transmission line projects in NM are listed in ‘ready to go’ report


A report released Tuesday by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid includes two New Mexico transmission projects that it says could move from advanced planning to construction if certain policies are changed.

The report concludes that federal policy reform is needed in three areas: permitting, financing and planning.

There are 22 projects listed in the “Transmission Projects Ready to Go” report as “shovel ready.”

This includes the more-than 500-mile long SunZia line and the 240-mile long Southline. Both projects are located in southern New Mexico and Arizona.

A fact sheet released by President Joe Biden’s administration today states that new financing opportunities through the U.S. Department of Energy as well as the ability to use right of ways from the U.S. Department of Transportation could help move the 22 projects identified in the report forward.

The Americans for a Clean Energy Grid report estimates that the 22 projects will create more than 600,000 jobs related to transmission and another 640,000 jobs related to renewable energy.

The SunZia project is in the process of acquiring right of ways in both states and its estimated completion date is in 2025.

The fact sheet quotes Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm describing the two new funding mechanisms, which total $8.25 billion, as downpayments in “our efforts to modernize our transmission nationwide.” She said the investments will lead to a more resilient and reliable grid while also creating jobs and increasing clean energy capacity.

Meanwhile, the use of DOT right of ways will support more than just the transmission of electricity. It could lead to further broadband development and deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.

 “Our new guidance will help states use their rights-of-way to expand clean energy, lower costs, and create good-paying jobs in their communities,” said DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the fact sheet. “Today’s actions can provide a model for our private partners, like railroads, to do the same.”