TransWest Express Transmission Project Approved
December 14, 2016 - Secretary Jewell approved the 600-kilovolt, direct current transmission line TransWest Express, a 728-mile line that crosses 442 miles of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land, would deliver up to 3,000 megawatts from southcentral Wyoming wind projects to southern Nevada. The approval came as part of a package of streamlining steps to build more utility-scale renewable energy and wheel it across western states.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Secretary Jewell signed with California Governor Brown, the Interior Department and state agencies will work collaboratively on expanded and streamlined efforts to encourage the timely and responsible development of renewable energy projects on federal and state lands and offshore waters. A high priority is placed on processing applications for renewable energy projects in areas that minimize environmental effects, make efficient use of existing transmission systems and are consistent with ongoing cooperative planning efforts, such the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, Western Solar Plan, and the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, the Interior press release said.
But using rooftop solar, microgrids, and local battery storage in urban load centers would be a much less costly and more environmentally friendly way to increase renewable energy.
The TransWest Express line has been mired in lawsuits and controversy in places such as Utah where it crosses towns and Wilderness Areas.
The transmission line would cross Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, and encompass lands owned or administered by the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, various state agencies, Native American tribes, municipalities, and private parties.
The transmission line will also purportedly minimize impacts on Greater Sage-grouse and other sensitive avian habitat through specific design features and compensatory mitigation.
TransWest Express Transmission Line Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement
September 8, 2013 - According to the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM), this long transmission line would be reveiwed by BLM and the Western Area Power Administration (Western) as co-lead agencies in preparing an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Western plans to partially fund the project under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The TransWest Express Transmission Project would provide transmission infrastructure and capacity to deliver approximately 3,000 megawatts (MW) of electric power from renewable and other energy resources (fossil fuel?) in south-central Wyoming to a substation hub in southern Nevada. The proposed project would consist of an approximately 725-mile-long, 600-kilovolt (kV), direct current (DC) transmission line, a northern terminal located near Sinclair, Wyoming, and a southern terminal approximately 25 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada in Eldorado Valley. A ground electrode system (required for transmission line emergency shutdown) would be installed within 100 miles of each terminal.
The proposed transmission line (and alternatives) would cross Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, and encompass lands owned or administered by the BLM, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, various state agencies, Native American tribes, municipalities, and private parties. The BLM and Western have included the government entities as cooperating agencies in this EIS process.
The BLM and Western released the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for a 90-day public comment period, as announced by publishing a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register on July 3, 2013. Comment deadline is September 30, 2013.
Public Comments and Meetings
All meetings will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in August and September 2013:
Wed, Aug 14 Rawlins, WY Jeffrey Center ♦ 315 West Pine St.
Thurs, Aug 15 Baggs, WY Valley Community Center ♦ 255 West Osborne
Fri, Aug 16 Craig, CO Colorado NW Community College ♦ 2801 West 9th St.
Tues, Aug 20 Nephi, UT Juab County Courthouse, Cultural Hall ♦ 160 North Main
Wed, Aug 21 Delta, UT Millard School District Office ♦ 285 East 450 North
Mon, Aug 26 Ft. Duchesne, UT Tribal Auditorium ♦ 988 South 7500 East
Tues, Aug 27 Vernal, UT Western Park Convention Center ♦ 302 East 200 South
Wed, Aug 28 Duchesne, UT Duchesne High School ♦ 155 W. Main St.
Thurs, Aug 29 Price, UT Carbon County Event Center ♦ 310 S. Fairgrounds Rd.
Tues, Sept 3 Henderson, NV Heritage Park Senior Facility ♦ 300 S. Racetrack Rd.
Wed, Sept 4 Panaca, NV Neldon C. Matthews Auditorium ♦ 1028 Edwards St.
Thurs, Sept 5 Cedar City, UT Cedar City Middle School ♦ 2215 Royal Hunte Dr.
Fri, Sept 6 St. George, UT Dixie State University, Zion Room ♦ 225 South 700 East
BLM and Western managers and resource specialists will be available at the meetings to answer questions.
Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
Mail comment form or letters to: TransWest Express Project, Bureau of Land Management, P.O. Box 20678, Cheyenne, WY 82003
Email to: TransWest_WYMail@blm.gov
Oral testimony, comment forms or letters submitted at a public meeting/hearing
Competing Transmission Lines
Duke Energy and American Transmission Co. are proposing to build their own large-scale transmission project almost paralleling the TransWest line. The Zephyr Power Transmission Project is proposed to connect the Pathfinder Wind Project in eastern Wyoming to the Eldorado Valley in Nevada. It would carry 3,000 megawatts over 850 miles of 500-kilovolt high-voltage direct current line. Federal agencies said at meetings that only one of these projects would be approved, not both.