May 19, 2023

SunZia transmission line receives key approval

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich at the announcement of the approval of the SunZia transmission line in January, 2015. Photo via Martin Heinrich's office

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the right-of-way for the SunZia transmission line on Thursday.

The transmission line will take clean power from New Mexico to utilities in Arizona and California.

“The Department of the Interior is committed to expanding clean energy development to address climate change, enhance America’s energy security and provide for good-paying union jobs,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis said in a press release announcing the record of decision. “Through robust engagement with states, cities and Tribes, we are proud of the part we play in the all-of-government efforts to diversify the nation’s renewable energy portfolio while at the same time combating climate change and investing in communities.”

The BLM’s New Mexico State Director Melanie Barnes called it “an important step in the development of our country’s renewable energy and transmission infrastructure.”

The project includes two 500-kilovolt transmission lines that will span about 520 miles, crossing federal, state and private lands in central New Mexico and central Arizona. In New Mexico, the project will cross through areas of Lincoln, Socorro, Sierra, Luna, Grant, Hidalgo, Valencia, and Torrance counties.

“SunZia will have a massive economic impact in New Mexico,” U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat who has championed the project, said in a press release. “Once it’s completed, New Mexico will be the largest producer of wind power in the Western Hemisphere. This project will put our state on the map as the place to build large-scale renewable generation projects and transmission infrastructure. It will also bring us one huge step closer to meeting our ambitious and urgent climate goals, while creating thousands of good-paying jobs along the way.”