Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Senior Advisor to the President John Podesta joined federal, state and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of the SunZia Transmission Project. When completed, this project will transport up to 4,500 megawatts of primarily renewable energy from New Mexico to markets in Arizona and California, furthering the Biden-Harris administration’s historic climate and clean energy goals.
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management approved the project in May 2023 and completed the review period for this project – from the Notice of Intent to Record of Decision – in less than two years. This project represents another milestone from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda – a key pillar of Bidenomics – which is working to accelerate transmission buildout to lower consumers’ energy costs, prevent power outages in the face of extreme weather, create good-paying union jobs, tackle the climate crisis, and achieve the President’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.
“The SunZia Transmission Project will accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy by unlocking renewable resources, creating jobs, lowering costs, and boosting local economies,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Through historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Interior Department is helping build modern, resilient climate infrastructure that protects our communities from the worsening impacts of climate change.”
The President’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the middle out and bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean energy economy that will combat the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.
“The SunZia Transmission Project is a game-changer for America's clean energy economy and for our fight to save the planet,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. “To tackle the climate crisis and bring clean, affordable, reliable power to American families, we need to build high-performance transmission projects like this one all across the country.”
Today’s groundbreaking is the latest example of how the Biden-Harris administration is advancing collaborative and efficient permitting of transmission lines and renewable energy projects on our nation’s public lands. This permitting progress will help achieve the goal of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, as well as Congress’ direction in the Energy Act of 2020 to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025 – a target that the Administration is on track to surpass.
The SunZia Transmission Project is composed of two planned 500-kilovolt transmission lines located across approximately 520 miles of federal, state and private lands between central New Mexico and central Arizona. The permitted route originates at a planned substation in Torrance County, New Mexico, and terminates at the existing Pinal Central Substation in Pinal County, Arizona. The project traverses Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Luna, Sierra, Socorro, Torrance and Valencia counties in New Mexico and Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima and Pinal counties in Arizona. The project has committed to the highest workforce standards and will utilize union labor and trades.
Since 2021, the BLM has approved 35 projects (10 solar, 8 geothermal, and 17 gen-ties) on approximately 23,396 acres of BLM-managed lands. These projects are expected to produce 8,160 megawatts of electricity — enough to power more than 2.6 million homes.
The BLM is currently processing 68 utility-scale onshore clean energy projects proposed on public lands in the western United States. This includes solar, wind, and geothermal projects, as well as interconnected gen-tie lines that are vital to clean energy projects proposed on non-federal land. These projects have the combined potential to add over 34,000 megawatts of renewable energy to the western electric grid. The BLM is also undertaking the preliminary review of over 171 applications for solar and wind development, as well as 100 applications for wind and solar energy testing.