Pattern Energy Group LP has acquired the SunZia Transmission project from SouthWestern Power Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of MMR Group, Inc. SunZia Transmission consists of a 550-mile bi-directional ± 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona, with the capacity to transport up to 3,000 MW of clean, renewable energy.
SunZia Transmission previously awarded the full 3,000 MW of capacity on the transmission line to Pattern Energy. Pattern Energy is developing the SunZia Wind project, a 3,000+ MW facility in New Mexico, which will utilize the SunZia transmission line to provide enough safe, affordable, and renewable electricity to power the needs of 2.5 million Americans annually.
SouthWestern Power Group will maintain ownership of a second 500 kV high voltage-alternating current (HVAC) transmission line, El Rio Sol Transmission.
SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind together comprise the largest renewable energy infrastructure project in U.S. history with a total investment of over $8 billion. Both projects are privately funded and will deliver widespread economic benefits across New Mexico and Arizona.
SunZia Transmission and Pattern Energy have partnered with the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) on the development of the transmission project in New Mexico. Pattern Energy expects to begin full construction of the SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects in 2023 with the completion of construction and start of operations for SunZia Transmission expected in 2025, and SunZia Wind in early 2026.
“SunZia Transmission will create a clean power superhighway for millions of Americans by opening access to huge, largely-untapped wind energy resources in New Mexico,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. “SunZia is an investment that will empower our clean energy future and generate millions of dollars in economic impact across Arizona and New Mexico. This revolutionary transmission line will be the conduit for the largest wind project in U.S. history, our 3,000+ MW SunZia Wind facility. We are creating and implementing the largest clean energy infrastructure project in American history, demonstrating the vast potential of New Mexico’s wind power and the regions’ ability to bring large interstate infrastructure to reality.”The SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects will create more than 2,000 construction jobs during peak construction. Once operational, up to 150 permanent staff will operate and maintain the projects.
Originally approved in 2015, SunZia Transmission’s route was adjusted as a result of collaboration with the Department of Defense and White Sands Missile Range, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to partially parallel the existing Western Spirit Transmission line for 35 miles, minimizing environmental impact along the route. Final project approvals including the BLM Record of Decision are anticipated to be issued by April 2023.
Throughout the development process, SunZia Transmission has worked closely with the public, BLM, landowners, ranchers, and numerous wildlife conservation agencies, including the Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife, to conduct extensive environmental analysis and identify the optimal route for the project. Pattern Energy is excited to continue this close coordination.
Pattern Energy is also currently developing additional interstate transmission projects including the Southern Spirit Transmission project, an advanced-stage ± 525kV, 2,000 MW High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) bi-directional transmission line that will connect ERCOT in Texas to the southeast market.
Pattern Energy has deep expertise in developing complex transmission projects. In December 2021, together with RETA, Pattern Energy completed and sold to Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) the Western Spirit Transmission line, a 155-mile 345 kV transmission line that is now delivering wind power from Pattern’s Western Spirit Wind facilities in central New Mexico to the electric grid managed by PNM near Albuquerque. Western Spirit Wind totals more than 1,050 megawatts (MW) of clean power capacity, enough to meet the electricity needs of 900,000 Americans each year. For more information about SunZia Transmission, Western Spirit Transmission and Pattern’s operations in New Mexico, please visit patternenergynewmexico.com.