SunZia Receives Arizona Regulatory Approval Renewable Energy Development Responds
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
PHOENIX, AZ (February 8, 2016) In an historic vote, the Arizona Corporation Commission has approved an application of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project for major new high voltage transmission infrastructure originating in eastern New Mexico and ending in Pinal County, Arizona. The Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) permit issued by the Arizona regulating authority represents the first merchant transmission project approved in the States 104-year history.
Renewable energy developers responded immediately to news of Arizona regulatory support. SunZia is receiving numerous inquiries from renewable energy development firms concerning interest in both interconnection and transmission service for proposed generation projects in Arizona and New Mexico, said Tom Wray, SunZia Project Manager. SunZia is responding to those inquires in accordance with the terms and conditions of its 2011 Order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Commissioners and ACC Staff noted throughout the two-day meeting that SunZia is a win-win for Arizona because the economic benefits of privately-financed merchant projects come without the risks that rate-paying customers must bear with utility-backed projects.
The owners of SunZia are grateful that one of the last important permits for the project has been obtained. We are optimistic about the jobs and economic development activities that will inevitably result from the construction activity of the transmission project itself, as well as from future electric generation facilities, said Wray. This project will directly benefit economically-depressed areas in rural Arizona and New Mexico.
Local communities throughout central and southeast Arizona celebrated the decision. Following the vote of approval, Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller spoke to a local newspaper saying Im glad itpassed If Arizonas going to continue to grow and create jobs, youre going to have to have the power available for these companies to produce whatever products theyre looking at.
Final permitting efforts for SunZia now turn to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and right-of-way acquisition in both states.
SunZia Southwest Transmission Project is a high-voltage transmission facility that will enable the delivery of electricity, including renewable energy, to customers in the Southwest, while greatly improving the reliability of the existing electrical grid. The system will span 515 miles between Arizona and New Mexico. It includes up to two new 500kV transmission lines and five electrical substations that will provide up to 4,500 megawatts of new capacity. Once final approvals have been obtained and rights-of-way acquired, construction is scheduled to begin in 2018, with operation of the first 500 kV transmission line in 2021. www.SunZia.net
About MMR Group
MMR Group is the world leader in electrical and instrumentation construction, maintenance, management, and technical services. MMR is leading the permitting and development effort of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project through its wholly owned Phoenix-based subsidiary SouthWestern Power Group (SWPG). MMR is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. www.MMRgrp.com