DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With key permits secured, labor partnerships in place and nearly all rights-of-way acquired, the TransWest Express Transmission Project is commencing its initial capacity allocation process.
Through an Open Solicitation kicking off today, independent developer TransWest Express LLC is soliciting interest in the TWE Project from potential customers for two primary long-term firm transmission service products: up to 1,500 MW Wyoming to Utah point-to-point service, and up to 1,500 MW Wyoming to Nevada point-to-point service. Each of these products will provide transmission service from Wyoming to market off-take points in Utah and Nevada.
The Open Solicitation is being managed by an independent solicitation manager, PA Consulting. The TWE Project Open Solicitation website at www.transwestexpress-os.com includes extensive project and process details. A Statement of Interest form also is available for potential transmission customers to submit to PA Consulting within 60 days. The allocation process was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a Feb. 26 order.
The TWE Project is a high-voltage interregional transmission system designed to extend from Carbon County, Wyoming, to Clark County, Nevada, with an interconnection into the Intermountain Power system in Millard County, Utah. The unique use of both HVDC and HVAC technology, along with the midpoint terminal, will increase the system flexibility and physical transmission capacity of the Western U.S. power grid.
The TWE Project also will assure that various Western electricity markets can access geographically diverse, complementary, high-capacity wind energy supplies available from Wyoming. This will help states and other entities to efficiently and cost-effectively meet their renewable portfolio standards and emissions reductions targets.
Since TransWest started its work on the TWE Project in 2008, the company has:
- Acquired nearly all of the rights-of-way for the 732-mile transmission route, including those over 99% of the privately owned lands.
- Completed major federal and state permitting milestones with the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, the state of Wyoming and the state of Nevada.
- Obtained conditional use permits or other required county authorizations in all 14 counties.
- Entered into a Development Agreement with Western Area Power Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Entered into partnering agreements with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the International Union of Operating Engineers.
- Completed TWE Project reliability reviews through the Western Electricity Coordinating Council rating process.
“The TWE Project is essentially shovel-ready critical infrastructure that will materially advance national energy and economic interests,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of TransWest. “This 500 kV electricity transmission investment will help modernize the Western power grid and make it more resilient, reliable and ready to facilitate the renewable energy that is needed to achieve federal, state and municipal goals.”
TransWest plans to build the HVDC system to provide 3,000 MW of transmission capacity, and the terminals in Wyoming and Utah will be constructed in two stages of 1,500 MW each to align with market demand. The first construction stage will take about three years, with commencement to be determined after the BLM Notice to Proceed is issued. The HVAC system constructed from Utah to Nevada is planned to provide 1,500 MW of transmission capacity.
When TWE Project construction begins, it will create hundreds of new direct jobs – such as heavy equipment operators, line workers, welders, electricians, environmental compliance monitors and more – in all four states hosting the TWE Project, along with supporting thousands of indirect and induced jobs across the value chain. Local sales/use tax payments made over the course of construction are estimated at over $113 million to be paid across Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
The multiple benefits of new high-voltage transmission development like the TWE Project are underscored in a 2020 study produced for Congress by FERC staff, called “Report on Barriers and Opportunities for High Voltage Transmission.”
For example, according to the FERC report, “High voltage transmission can improve the reliability and resilience of the transmission system by allowing utilities to share generating resources, enhance the stability of the existing transmission system, aid with restoration and recovery after an event, and improve frequency response and ancillary services throughout the existing system. High voltage transmission also provides greater access to location-constrained resources in support of renewable resource goals. It also offers opportunities to meet federal, state and local policy goals.”
The FERC report pointed to the TWE Project as an example of a specific State Policy Opportunity project that can help states achieve their renewable portfolio standards and goals.
As noted in the report, the TWE Project “would eventually provide 3,000 MW of transmission capacity to deliver wind energy generated in southern Wyoming to consumers in Arizona, Nevada, and southern California… If constructed, the TransWest Express could help deliver the renewable energy needed for Arizona, Nevada and California to achieve their RPSs of 15 percent by 2025, 25 percent by 2025, and 60 percent by 2030, respectively.”
Two-thirds of the TWE Project route lies on federal land primarily managed by the BLM. States and counties along the route participated in the federal environmental analysis process as cooperating agencies. They provided critical local knowledge to inform the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement from 2009-2015 and the selection of the final route, as documented in the TWE Project Record of Decision published by BLM in December 2016 and the Record of Decision published by WAPA in January 2017.
For more information on TransWest and the TWE Project, visit www.transwestexpress.net.
For more information on the Open Solicitation, visit www.transwestexpress-os.com.