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TransWest Express Transmission Project Breaks Ground

June 22, 2023
Secretaries Haaland and Granholm commemorate construction of interregional power line, creating jobs and enhancing clean energy infrastructure.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Department of Energy Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm have marked the start of the TransWest Express Transmission Project, a new interregional power line spanning from Wyoming to Nevada. This high-voltage transmission line will create over 1,000 jobs during construction and once finished, will provide an additional 3,000 MW of transmission capacity.

In April 2023, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency under the Department of the Interior, authorized the construction of the project. The TransWest Express Project will transmit electricity generated by the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, the largest onshore wind project in North America. This wind project consists of 600 turbines and is partially situated on public lands managed by the BLM.

The TransWest Express Project has been identified as a priority since the Obama-Biden administration in 2011. The BLM’s Wyoming office has worked closely with various stakeholders to determine the best route and minimize impacts on natural resources in Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, including areas important for greater sage-grouse and wilderness characteristics.

The project will encompass a 730-mile-long, 600 kV direct current transmission line, with a northern terminal near Sinclair, Wyoming, and a southern terminal located approximately 25 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada. Additionally, a ground electrode system will be installed within 100 miles of each terminal to facilitate emergency shutdown of the transmission line.

Under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the aim is to revitalize the American economy by investing in infrastructure, promoting private sector manufacturing, and driving clean energy investments totaling over $470 billion. This approach will create well-paying jobs, address climate change, and enhance community resilience.

The BLM is currently reviewing 74 utility-scale clean energy projects, including solar, wind, and geothermal, proposed on public lands in the western United States. These projects, along with interconnected gen-tie lines, have the potential to add more than 37,000 MW of renewable energy to the western electric grid. Moreover, the BLM is conducting preliminary evaluations for over 150 solar and wind development applications, as well as 51 applications for wind and solar energy testing.

By facilitating the environmentally responsible development of renewable energy on public lands, the BLM supports the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. Furthermore, the Energy Act of 2020 directs the BLM to permit 25 GW of solar, wind, and geothermal production on public lands by 2025.

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