Contributed Photo: The SunZia Transmission line will bring energy from wind farms to central Arizona.
Largest clean energy infrastructure project in American history is expected to start full construction this year
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Energy), a leader in renewable energy, announced its SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind projects are expected to generate $20.5 billion dollars in total economic benefit, including direct, indirect, and induced economic benefit as well as fiscal impacts according to the results of an independent study conducted by research firm Energy, Economic & Environment Consultants LLC. Together, SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind comprise the largest renewable energy infrastructure project in U.S. history and will enable access to over 3,500 MW of New Mexico wind power, providing clean, reliable, and affordable electricity across Western states.
According to Energy, Economic & Environment Consultants LLC, SunZia Wind, and Transmission enable more than $20 billion of economic impact, which includes over $8 billion of direct capital investment, at no added cost to ratepayers.
“New Mexico is proud to be the home of the largest clean energy infrastructure project in U.S. history, and we are eager to realize the economic and environmental benefits this project will provide,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Clean energy is the key to meeting our climate goals and building a lower carbon future, and a project like this one that also generates billions in economic impact makes this a clear win for New Mexico.”
“This report underscores the transformative power of large-scale clean energy projects like SunZia and New Mexico’s role in helping meet our nation’s goals and energy demands, said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. “I am proud to have supported this project at every stage, and to witness today just how far the investments and positive impacts will reach.”
“SunZia is an investment in America’s energy future that will pay strong dividends, including more than $20 billion in expected economic impact, over 2,000 new jobs, and clean power for 3 million Americans,” said Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy. “SunZia demonstrates that working toward a sustainable future can also create meaningful economic value and a lasting positive impact on local communities. We’re proud that SunZia is the result of many years of collaboration with communities, local residents, landowners, environmental groups, wildlife organizations, and federal agencies. We look forward to starting construction this year and bringing these benefits to fruition.”
“SunZia is a prime example of the type of viable renewable energy and transmission project that our region desperately needs,” said Myra Pancrazio, Director of the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association. “We have worked hard for the past 20 years to bring projects like this to the Estancia Valley. SunZia will deliver clean renewable energy, job creation, and economic development. It’s a win-win-win for the entire region.”
“This project is of great economic benefit and will jumpstart job creation, which for our rural communities is a lifeline,” said Mignonne Hollis, Executive Director, Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation. “It’s vital for our county, which continues to see a decline in population, to have stable jobs come into our region.”
“It’s nice to see the project coming to fruition,” said Barbara Sultemeier, a local rancher who will host SunZia Wind. “Our community has been anticipating this project and the benefits it will provide for some time, and we are pleased to see the economic impact, not only from the direct investment but also jobs for area workers.”
SunZia Wind and Transmission provide estimated direct economic benefits of over $16 billion, including capital expenditures, operational expenditures, and payments to private landowners across New Mexico and Arizona. Together, the projects will generate an expected $1.3 billion in fiscal impacts that will go to governments, communities, and schools. These benefits are generated through sales and use taxes, property taxes, community benefit payments, and land payments to federal and state agencies.
The SunZia Transmission project alone will generate nearly $1 billion in expected economic impact in each of the two states hosting the project, New Mexico and Arizona, according to the independent study.
SunZia Transmission is a 550-mile ± 525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona, with the capacity to transport 3,000 MW of clean, renewable energy. SunZia Transmission will carry the clean, renewable power produced by the SunZia Wind project, which is comprised of more than 3,500 MW of new wind generation located in Torrance, Lincoln, and San Miguel Counties, New Mexico, and will represent the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere.
The SunZia Wind and SunZia Transmission projects have been developed with a deep commitment to local community engagement and environmental stewardship. A key initiative for SunZia has been following through on an extended engagement with local, regional, and national conservation stakeholders. As a result of this commitment and consultation, SunZia Transmission is setting a precedent with a gold standard in environmental mitigation efforts developed hand-in-hand with the environmental community. SunZia Wind has established robust environmental best practices to reduce project impacts and study effective habitat restoration strategies in partnership with local and state experts.
The projects continue to work with federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as local jurisdictions and stakeholders, to finalize remaining approvals to allow construction on the projects to begin on schedule this year.
About Pattern Energy
Pattern Energy is one of the world’s largest privately-owned developers and operators of wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects. Its operational portfolio includes 35 renewable energy facilities that use proven, best-in-class technology with an operating capacity of nearly 6,000 MW in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. Pattern Energy is guided by a long-
term commitment to serve customers, protect the environment, and strengthen communities. For more information, visit patternenergy.com.
Editor’s Note: The SunZia Transmission line traverses along the southern edge of Graham County and Pattern Energy will likely become Graham County’s second-largest taxpayer after Freeport McMoRan Inc.