Department of Energy: Project to generate 3.5 gigawatts to nation’s grid capacity
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
The U.S. Department of Energy earlier today announced up to a $1.3 billion commitment in three transmission lines crossing six states.
The historic commitment, which is made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE officials tell the Arizona Digital Free Press, will advance transformative projects aimed at adding 3.5 gigawatts (GW) of additional grid capacity throughout the United States.
The amount of power is equivalent to approximately 3 million homes, and creating more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to a press release.
These projects will advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate agenda, strengthen grid resilience and reliability, and bring low-cost clean electricity to more families and businesses, the release states.
To ensure that transmission buildout in a precise manner, DOE officials say the final National Transmission Needs Study released today provides insight into where the grid — and which American communities — would benefit most from increased transmission.
“To realize the full benefit of the nation’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, we need to more than double our grid capacity and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda puts us in position to do just that,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, in a prepared statement.
“This historic effort to strengthen the nation’s transmission will drive down costs for American families and deliver thousands of good paying jobs for American workers — helping communities keep the lights on in the face of climate change-induced extreme weather events.”
The Needs Study released today estimates that by 2035 the nation must more than double the existing regional transmission capacity and expand existing interregional transmission capacity by more than fivefold on our way to economy-wide decarbonization.
The Transmission Facilitation Program and the Needs Study represent financial and planning elements of DOE’s three-pronged approach with one area of deployment happening in Arizona.
A rundown of the selected projects are:
*Southline Transmission Project (Arizona, New Mexico). Southline is a proposed 175-mile, 748 MW transmission line from Hidalgo County, New Mexico to Pima County, Arizona that will help unlock renewable energy development in southern New Mexico and deliver clean energy to growing markets in Arizona that currently rely on fossil fuel generation. The project, which is the first phase of a longer line, will make smart use of existing transmission rights of way along parts of its route, upgrading aging transmission facilities that are the source of congestion and constraints in the region. Construction is expected to start in Q1 of calendar year 2025. The Needs Study estimates that by 2030 the Southwest will need 935 GW-mi of new transmission to unlock the power sector emissions savings enabled by IRA. The Southline project will contribute 14% to this regional need.
*Cross-Tie 500kV Transmission Line (Nevada, Utah). Cross-Tie is a proposed 214-mile,1500 MW transmission line connecting existing transmission systems in Utah and Nevada to increase transmission capacity, improve grid reliability and resilience, relieve congestion on other key transmission lines, and expand access to low-cost renewable energy across the region. The bidirectional nature of Cross-Tie will increase transfer capabilities in the West, unlocking increased access to renewable energy resources in the region. Construction is expected to start in Q1 of calendar year 2025. The Needs Study estimates that by 2030 the Mountain region will need nearly 2,300 gigawatt-miles GW-mi of new transmission to unlock the power sector emissions savings enabled by Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Cross-Tie will contribute 14% to this regional need.
*Twin States Clean Energy Link (New Hampshire, Vermont). Twin States is a proposed 1,200 MW high-voltage direct current (HVDC) bidirectional line that will expand the capacity of the New England electric grid and improve its resiliency, reliability, and efficiency by providing access to clean firm energy supplies in Quebec, Canada. The bidirectional design of the Twin States line will also allow the New England grid to export power to Canada when New England is producing more energy than it needs to meet its own demand, which is expected to occur as the offshore wind industry in New England expands. Construction is expected to start in Q3 or Q4 of calendar year 2026. The Needs Study predicts the North East region will need 1.5 GW of new transfer capacity with its neighbors; Twin States will provide 79% to this interregional need.