The Southline Transmission Project has received Records of Decision from both the Western Area Power Administration and the Bureau of Land Management. These represent the approval of the agencies' preferred alternative and allow for BLM to issue a right-of-way grant on BLM-managed public lands based on the analyses conducted in the agencies' joint Final Environmental Impact Statement.
"Achieving this milestone is a major success for the Southline Transmission Project," said Hunter Hunt, president of Hunt Power, the parent company of Southline Transmission, L.L.C. "We look forward to completing work with the states of Arizona and New Mexico and advancing toward construction of this important project to enable transmission of reliable, cost-effective power through the desert southwest region."
Western announced its ROD in the Federal Register on April 14, 2016, and BLM announced its ROD on May 6, 2016. The agencies worked steadily with other federal, state and local agencies, tribes, and regional stakeholders to understand potential project impacts and find a project route with maximum benefit for the region and minimal impacts. The Western Record of Decision is available at http://energy.gov/nepa/downloads/eis-0474-record-decision, and the BLM Record of Decision is available at http://www.blm.gov/nm/southline.
The Southline Transmission Project is composed of two segments. The first segment will be a new 240-mile double-circuit 345-kilovolt (kV) line connecting the Afton Substation south of Las Cruces, New Mexico, to the Apache Substation south of Willcox, Arizona. The second segment will be an upgrade and rebuild of Western's existing 115-kV transmission lines between the Apache Substation and the Saguaro Substation, which is north of Tucson, Arizona; this segment will consist of 120 miles of new double-circuit 230-kV lines. The Southline Transmission Project will interconnect with up to 14 existing substation locations and include development of a potential new substation in Luna County, New Mexico.
The capacity rights to the project are being allocated to customers through an open solicitation process led by SU FERC, L.L.C. (SU FERC) that began on March 31, 2016. SU FERC intends to allocate up to 100 percent of its capacity rights to customers through this process. Interested parties can learn more by visiting http://www.southline-os.com.
Southline plans to begin phased construction in 2017 with initial operations beginning in 2018, and full operations by 2020. For more information about the Southline Transmission Project, please visit http://www.southlinetransmissionproject.com.