WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Co-Chair of the Electrification Caucus, is welcoming the release of a Record of Decision on the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project.
“SunZia will have a massive economic impact in New Mexico. Once it’s completed, New Mexico will be home to the largest renewable energy project in the entire 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.
“Over the last decade and a half, I’ve fought for this project as it’s hit a series of obstacles. It was worth the fight to deliver the transformative economic impact of this project for our rural communities. Our work to engage with local communities, private landholders, and stakeholders to secure strong community economic benefit and environmental stewardship commitments from SunZia’s developer, Pattern Energy, was an important piece of this process. But the permitting should never have taken this long.
“We need to build out more transmission lines and bring many more large-scale clean energy and storage projects onto the grid, and those must move more quickly. It’s critical that we pass transmission permitting reform, and I plan to introduce a bill shortly to do exactly that.”
Senator Heinrich has been a longtime champion of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project that includes two planned 500 kV transmission lines located across approximately 520 miles of federal, state, and private lands between central New Mexico and central Arizona. The SunZia Transmission Line will traverses 353 miles southwest from Torrance County into Valencia, Socorro, Sierra, Grant, Luna, and Hidalgo counties before continuing its path through Arizona.
Together, the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects will become the largest renewable energy infrastructure project in U.S. history and enable access to over 3,500 MW of wind power generated in New Mexico. The project is expected to create over 2,000 jobs during construction and support over 100 permanent jobs once online.
In April, Pattern Energy announced that an independent analysis
conducted by the research firm Energy, Economic, & Environmental Consultants LLC found that the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects will generate an estimated $20.5 billion in total economic benefits.