RAWLINS, Wyoming — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm [has] celebrated the groundbreaking of the TransWest Express Transmission Project, a new high-voltage interregional transmission line that will extend from south-central Wyoming through northwestern Colorado and central Utah, ending in southern Nevada. The transmission line will add more than 1,000 jobs during construction and, once complete, will provide 3,000 megawatts of new transmission capacity.
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management authorized construction of the project in April 2023. [This] groundbreaking represents another milestone in the Biden-Harris administration’s broader efforts on accelerating transmission buildout to lower consumers’ energy costs, prevent power outages in the face of extreme weather, and create good-paying union jobs.
“The TransWest Express 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.”
“Today’s historic groundbreaking represents another breakthrough in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to accelerate transmission which will lower consumers’ costs, all while creating good-paying union jobs,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The TransWest Express Project will play a major role in our nation’s energy security, ensuring that home-grown clean energy can form the backbone of our electric grid as we rebuild a stronger, more resilient transmission system.”
The TransWest Express Project will carry electricity generated by the largest onshore wind generation project in North America: the over 3-gigawatt Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, located in Carbon County, Wyoming. Like the TransWest Express Project, the 600-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project is partially located on public lands managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.
The Obama-Biden administration identified the TransWest Express Project as a priority project in 2011. Since then, BLM’s Wyoming office has worked closely with a variety of stakeholders as the lead federal permitting agency to develop the best possible route. By collaborating closely with partners, the BLM was able to offset project impacts to greater sage-grouse, lands with wilderness characteristics, and other natural resources in Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
The project would consist of an approximately 730-mile-long, 600-kilovolt, direct current transmission line, a northern terminal located near Sinclair, Wyoming, and a southern terminal approximately 25 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada. A ground electrode system (required for transmission line emergency shutdown) would be installed within 100 miles of each terminal.
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
The BLM is currently processing 74 utility-scale onshore clean energy projects proposed on public lands in the western United States. This includes solar, wind and geothermal projects, as well as interconnected gen-tie lines that are vital to clean energy projects proposed on non-federal land. These projects have the combined potential to add over 37,000 megawatts of renewable energy to the western electric grid. The BLM is also undertaking the preliminary review of over 150 applications for solar and wind development, as well as 51 applications for wind and solar energy testing.
The BLM manages vast stretches of public lands that are making significant contributions to the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. To promote the development of these energy sources, the BLM provides sites for environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands. The efficient permitting of renewable energy and transmission from our nation’s public lands is crucial in achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025.
For more information on the project, please visit the Bureau of Land Management’s website.
Courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Featured image courtesy of TransWest Express Transmission Project.
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