Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi broke ground for Ten West Link, a new 500 kV high-voltage transmission line that will connect Southern California and central Arizona and deliver clean electricity.
The Department of the Interior approved construction of the line in July 2022.
“The Ten West Link in Arizona demonstrates a very important point: when we invest in climate, we invest in families, in communities, in opportunity and prosperity for all people,” says Harris. “When we invest in climate, we build a safer, cleaner, healthier, more just, and more prosperous country. When we invest in climate, we invest in America.”
The Ten West Link route traverses a region with some of the highest potential for utility-scale solar photovoltaic energy development in the nation. The project will provide critical transmission infrastructure to support the development of future utility-scale solar energy resources and will boost the reliability of the bulk power system for millions of customers in central Arizona and Southern California. The project will have a conductor capacity to transmit 3,200 MW of solar capacity and provide interconnection capability for new energy projects located in the region. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.
“The Ten West Link will accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy by unlocking renewable resources, creating jobs, lowering costs, and boosting local economies,” comments Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Through robust engagement with states, cities and Tribes, the Biden-Harris administration is committed to diversifying the nation’s renewable energy portfolio while at the same time combatting climate change and investing in communities.”
Following the project’s initiation in 2014, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Arizona worked closely with a variety of stakeholders as the lead federal permitting agency to develop the best possible route. By collaborating closely with partners, the BLM was able to avoid impacts to military readiness and operations, local communities, popular recreation areas, Tribal lands and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. The BLM approved the project in November 2019 and authorized construction in July 2022.
“This announcement showcases the exciting potential of building reliable energy infrastructure that harvests abundant American-grown clean energy. The Biden-Harris administration is determined to create good-paying, unions jobs while addressing climate change head-on – and we’ll continue to see projects like Ten West being made in every pocket of the nation for years to come,” adds Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s historic clean energy and climate laws, we finally have the resources we need to build out this new economy on American soil, with American workers.”
The project will have a conductor capacity to transmit 3,200 MW of solar capacity and provide interconnection capability for new energy projects located in the region. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.
“The local IBEW workers putting steel in the ground for the Ten West project are delivering on President Biden’s vision for cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable energy for all Americans,” concludes National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “The Biden-Harris administration will always be a partner to the workers that are building a clean energy economy that’s made in America.”
Additionally, the BLM is currently processing 64 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 41,000 MW of renewable energy to the western electric grid. The BLM is also undertaking the preliminary review of 90 applications for solar and wind development, as well as 51 applications for wind and solar energy testing.
The Ten West Link Transmission Line is an infrastructure project covered under Title 41 of the FAST Act (FAST-41).
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Author: Ariana Fine