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Renewable Energy Transmission
Transmission planning is a process that involves diverse stakeholders such as transmission developers, solar developers, conservation groups, tribal representatives, government organizations, and local decision makers. Sonoran Institute’s reputation and experience helping stakeholders engage in the collaborative process will be critical to the success of each project.
Centennial West is a proposed high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) line running approximately 900 miles from a high-quality wind resource area in northeastern New Mexico to San Bernardino County, California. Visit the project website.
Southline Transmission project is a proposed 345/500 KV line linking substations near Afton, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona. Visit the BLM's Southline project page. Read the Scoping Comments on the Proposed Southline Transmission Project as presented by Sonoran Institute on behalf of 14 organizations.
SunZia is a proposed double 500kv transmission line that would extend from Lincoln County, New Mexico, to Pinal County, Arizona. This 530-mile long originates in a high wind resource area and interconnects with the grid in order to deliver power to markets in Arizona and California. Visit the SunZia project website and BLM's SunZia project page.
The Sonoran Institute supports federal, state, and local policies that facilitate solar development in areas with the best solar resources and the fewest environmental impacts. Ideally, it is concentrated in already disturbed areas near existing transmission lines and other infrastructure.
Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)
Under the direction from the US Department of Energy, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) is taking a leadership role in transitioning to a more resilient and flexible electric grid and to achieving much greater coordination among system operators. WAPA is a wholesale electricity supplier, serving cities and towns, rural electric cooperatives and irrigation districts, and Native American tribes. It manages more than 10,000 MW of hydropower and 17,000 miles of transmission lines. WAPA is currently soliciting public comments on ways that it can capitalize on cost-saving new smart grid technologies and eliminate the risk of power outages. To read the Sonoran Institute's comments at a recent public workshop hosted by WAPA, click here.
Sonoran Institute commissioned K. R. Saline and Associates, PLC, to conduct interviews of stakeholders in the Arizona power plant and transmission line siting process. The purpose of the survey was to obtain stakeholders’ comments on the current siting process—where it functions well, where it could function better, and what particular improvements could be made, specifically through reform of the siting statutes. Read the report here.