SunZia: Transmission for renewable energy


The Sierra Club and the Rio Grande Chapter have identified as an overarching priority the fight against global warming.

To stimulate investments in renewable energy production, renewable-rich areas like central New Mexico need transmission lines to deliver renewable power to customers across the west.

The Rio Grande Chapter believes renewable-energy transmission projects are good for stimulating clean energy in New Mexico. We also believe in making sure these projects are planned and built to strict environmental standards. We want the bar set high.

Among the several renewable energy transmission projects proposed in New Mexico, SunZia is the furthest along in the permitting process. This proposed high-capacity electrical transmission project would run from central New Mexico to south-central Arizona with two 500-kilovolt lines, crossing federal, state and private lands and providing up to 4,500 megawatts of new transmission capacity.

The Bureau of Land Management, the lead agency administrating this process, has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Resource Management Plan Amendments and is soliciting comments through Aug. 22.

Having been stakeholders in this process since it began in 2009, the Rio Grande Chapter will submit comments on the draft to make sure every environmental
consideration is given to the siting, construction and operation of this very large transmission project.