WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is welcoming the selection of the Southline Transmission Project as one of three transmission lines receiving up to $1.3 billion from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this investment will further solidify New Mexico’s position at the center of the clean energy transition, lower costs for families, and create hundreds of new construction jobs in the state.
“The Infrastructure Law’s transmission investments are essential to meeting our nation’s full potential as a global leader in the clean energy transition. With the Southline Transmission Project, we’re putting New Mexico at the very center of that transition, while lowering energy costs for families and creating hundreds of new construction jobs in our state along the way,” said Heinrich. “As we bring more large-scale clean energy and storage projects onto the grid, it’s critical that we pass transmission permitting reform. I will continue fighting and pass my legislation to get that done.”
The Southline Transmission Project is a proposed 175-mile, 748 MW transmission line from Hidalgo County, N.M., to Pima County, Ariz., that will help unlock renewable energy development in southern New Mexico and deliver clean energy to growing markets in Arizona that currently rely on fossil fuel generation.
The project, which is the first phase of a longer line, will make smart use of existing transmission rights of way along parts of its route, upgrading aging transmission facilities that are the source of congestion and constraints in the region. Construction is expected to start in Q1 of calendar year 2025. DOE estimates that by 2030, the Southwest will need 935 GW of new transmission to unlock the power sector emissions savings enabled by IRA. The Southline project will contribute 14% to this regional need.
Senator Heinrich continues to be a champion of legislation to meet our decarbonization goals and support the energy transition, while building the clean energy workforce of tomorrow.
In September, Heinrich delivered a keynote address at an advanced energy conference to lay out his vision to position New Mexico at the center of the nation's clean energy future. In the speech, Heinrich pointed to his work to accelerate the clean energy transition through legislation and federal investments he has secured. He also published an op-ed in the Denver Post emphasizing the need for more transmission lines to achieve our ambitious climate goals.
Heinrich recently celebrated the groundbreaking of the new SunZia Transmission Line, the largest renewable energy project in America, which he worked for over a decade to advance. When completed, the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects will become the largest renewable energy infrastructure project in U.S. history, transporting up to 3,500 megawatts of energy from New Mexico to markets in Arizona and California. The project is expected to create over 2,000 jobs during construction and support over 100 permanent jobs once online.
In May and June, Heinrich introduced legislation to improve the way that we permit, plan, and pay for transmission infrastructure. He announced plans to introduce the legislation in March in a keynote address at the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) Policy Forum.