US gives SunZia Transmission project final green light

Final approval has been granted for the SunZia Transmission project in the US Southwest.

The SunZia Transmission line will run between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona (Image credit: Brian Hicks / 500px/Getty Images)

The SunZia Transmission is an 885km, 525kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona.

The Pattern Energy project will transmit more than 3GW of power from the SunZia wind farm, also being developed by San Francisco-based Pattern.

The US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management issued a final decision regarding the transmission line yesterday (May 18). Construction will start this summer and it is to be completed in 2026. 

The US Bureau of Land Management released its final environmental impact statement and resource management plan amendment for the project in March, paving the way for final approval.

“This is a historic day for the advancement of America’s clean energy goals as SunZia receives its major federal routing permit, clearing the way to bring online enough renewable power for 3 million Americans,” said Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy.

Pattern said the project set a gold standard for environmental mitigation, for example by restoring thousands of acres of wildlife habitat.

“Climate change is the number one threat to birds’ survival, and projects like SunZia are key to reducing carbon pollution and creating a cleaner future for people and wildlife,” said Garry George, director of the National Audubon Society’s Clean Energy Initiative. 


Earlier this week, it emerged that oil major Shell and the University of California had signed power purchase agreements with Pattern for electricity generated by its 3.5GW SunZia wind project, currently being developed in New Mexico.