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SunZia wind and transmission projects, US – update

Image of power lines and wind turbines

14th June 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
SunZia wind and transmission projects.

Location
Between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona, in the US.

The SunZia Wind Farm is being built across the Torrance, Lincoln and San Miguel counties, in New Mexico.

Project Owner/s
Pattern Energy.

Project Description
The project is the biggest clean energy infrastructure project in US history.

SunZia transmission is an 885 km 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line with the capacity to transport 3 000 MW of electricity across Western states. 

The project will deliver clean power generated by Pattern Energy’s 3 515 MW SunZia Wind Farm – the biggest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, enough to cater for the needs of more than three-million Americans.

Potential Job Creation
The project will employ more than 2 000 workers on site during construction, including heavy equipment operators, electricians and labourers. The project will also use the expertise of several industry-leading suppliers and contractors. 

Capital Expenditure
Pattern closed an $11-billion nonrecourse financing deal in December 2023.

Planned Start/End Date
Construction started in December 2023. The transmission project is expected to enter operation in 2025, and the wind project in early 2026.

Latest Developments
A US district judge has dismissed claims by Native American tribes and environmentalists who sought to halt construction along part of an energy transmission line that will carry wind-generated electricity from New Mexico to customers as far away as California.

Judge Jennifer Zipps said in her ruling issued on June 6 that the plaintiffs were years too late in bringing their challenge. It followed an earlier decision in which she dismissed their requests for a preliminary injunction, saying the Bureau of Land Management had fulfilled its obligations to identify historic sites and prepare an inventory of cultural resources.

The disputed stretch of the SunZia transmission line is in southern Arizona’s San Pedro Valley and passes through an area that holds historic, cultural and religious significance for the tribes.

The Tohono O’odham Nation – along with the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Center for Biological Diversity and Archeology Southwest – sued in January in hopes of stopping the clearing of roads and pads so that more work could be done to identify culturally significant sites within an 80 km stretch of the valley.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Quanta Infrastructure Services Group (engineering, procurement and construction [EPC] contractor of the transmission line) and Hitachi Energy (HVDC supplier); Blattner Energy (EPC contractor for the wind project); and GE Vernova and Vestas (wind turbines).

Contact Details for Project Information
Pattern Energy, email SunZia@patternenergy.com.
 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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