Skip to content
SunZia wind undertaking in New Mexico, Arizona may generate $20.5B affect

Apr. 4—The whole financial affect from building and operation of Sample Vitality’s huge SunZia transmission and wind-generation undertaking, anticipated to interrupt floor this summer season, may attain $20.5 billion over 30 years, based on a brand new examine.

The total SunZia transmission undertaking, which builders first started planning in 2008, may ultimately carry as much as 4.5 gigawatts of wind vitality over two excessive voltage traces operating from Central New Mexico to south-central Arizona on the market in western markets.

Southwestern Energy Group, the preliminary developer, had initially deliberate to construct each traces, together with a 1.5 GW alternating present, or AC line, and a 3 GW direct present, or DC line, with Sample Vitality because the anchor tenant who would transport electrical energy from its New Mexico wind farms over SunZia.

However Sample acquired the rights to the three GW line final summer season, and now plans to construct that transmission line alongside growth of three.5 GW of latest wind vitality. That features almost 1,000 generators it plans to put in in Lincoln, Torrance and San Miguel counties, spanning about 600,000 acres of personal and state belief lands.

The corporate beforehand stated it is going to make investments about $8 billion to construct the DC transmission line and the brand new wind farms. However a brand new examine by analysis agency Vitality, Financial & Atmosphere Consultants LLC, launched Tuesday morning, now estimates the whole financial affect over the complete 30-year lifetime of the undertaking may attain $20.5 billion.

That features $16.2 billion in direct capital spending, ongoing operations over three a long time, and funds to landowners for internet hosting transmission traces and wind generators on their property.

The undertaking may also generate about $1.3 billion for native, state and federal governments by way of taxes and funds to companies just like the State Land Workplace, plus company sponsorships in rural communities. One other $3 billion in oblique and “induced” advantages will accrue from spending on native items and providers, and from the general affect of elevated native growth on rural households and communities, based on the examine.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham known as it a win-win when tallying each the environmental advantages and financial affect from SunZia, which Sample calls the most important renewable undertaking ever deliberate thus far within the U.S. and all through the Western Hemisphere.

“New Mexico is proud to be the house of the most important clear vitality infrastructure undertaking in U.S. historical past, and we’re keen to appreciate the financial and environmental advantages this undertaking will present,” Lujan Grisham stated in a press release Tuesday morning. “Clear vitality is the important thing to assembly our local weather targets and constructing a decrease carbon future, and a undertaking like this one which additionally generates billions in financial affect makes this a transparent win for New Mexico.”

Not all advantages will accrue in New Mexico. Arizona will see about $1 billion in financial affect from that portion of the SunZia line in-built that state, based on the examine. And, about $12.1 billion of the remaining $19.5 billion affect will circulation to out-of-state suppliers, though the bodily belongings that Sample purchases from them — comparable to wind towers and transmission infrastructure — shall be put in in New Mexico.

However that also leaves about $7.4 billion in native affect, together with some 2,000 jobs anticipated throughout peak building, plus about 110 everlasting jobs when the transmission line and wind generators come on-line in 2026.

SunZia has all native, state and federal permits in place to start building, with solely the U.S. Bureau of Land Administration’s ultimate resolution on the transmission line nonetheless pending. However the BLM is anticipated to totally inexperienced mild SunZia in Might, concluding a 15-year effort by builders to obtain the wanted approvals.

“All of the tough work is full, and the BLM is now making ultimate checks on its environmental affect assertion,” Sample CEO Hunter Armistead informed the Journal. “That course of is monitoring to early Might … and nearly instantly thereafter we might be prepared to start work.”

SunZia has weathered main hurdles through the years by way of prolonged and contentious allowing processes and opposition from conservation teams who feared the transmission line — which is able to cross the Rio Grande south of Belen — might be deadly to wintering flocks of sandhill cranes and different birds which will fly into the road.

To mitigate these impacts, Sample will deploy near-ultraviolet illumination units, plus chicken flight diverters that spin within the wind and mirror mild, alongside delicate areas to scare birds away. It is also financing wildlife conservation research and shopping for up focused a lot of land to transform into avian protected havens, stated Sample spokesman Matt Dallas.

“We’re doing a little actually revolutionary issues, a few of that are new for transmission initiatives,” Dallas informed the Journal.

For Sample, SunZia represents the height of its work in New Mexico, following its opening final yr of a 155-mile Western Spirit transmission line in Central New Mexico that included 1 GW of latest wind farms totaling a $1.8 billion funding, Armistead stated.

“SunZia is probably the most formidable renewable vitality enterprise that is ever been tried, and we contemplate it a fruits of our dedication to New Mexico,” Armistead stated. “Western Spirit was form of a costume rehearsal for SunZia, even at $1.8 billion. However that is actually the primary occasion.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *