Pattern Energy buys 3-GW SunZia transmission project to deliver wind energy from New Mexico to Arizona

Live Brief:

  • Pattern Energy Group on Monday said it bought the proposed SunZia transmission project, a 525-kV line set to deliver 3,000 MW to Arizona from wind farms Pattern is developing in New Mexico. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Pattern Energy expects to begin full construction of the SunZia transmission project and the SunZia wind projects next year, with operations for the bi-directional power line set to start in 2025, and the wind farms coming online in early 2026, according to the company.
  • “SunZia Transmission will create a clean power superhighway for millions of Americans by opening access to huge, largely-untapped wind energy resources in New Mexico,” Mike Garland, Pattern Energy CEO, said in a statement. Combined, Pattern Energy expects the wind and transmission projects will cost $8 billion.

Live Insight:

Pattern Energy’s announcement that it is buying the first phase of the SunZia project from SouthWestern Power Group, an MMR Group subsidiary, is part of a surge in transmission activity in the West.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management authorized constructionset to start this month, on a 500-kV power line between Arizona and California being developed by a Starwood Energy Group Global affiliate.

SouthWestern Power Group will continue to develop a second SunZia phase, a 500-kV high voltage-alternating current transmission line called El Rio Sol Transmission that would parallel the SunZia line, according to Matt Dallas, a Pattern Energy spokesman.

SunZia transmission line

Permission granted by Pattern Energy

The SunZia projectunder development since the mid 2000s, would run about 550 miles from central New Mexico, where Pattern Energy is developing wind farms, to central Arizona, according to SunZia Transmission.

San Francisco-based Pattern Energy has also been marketing its wind generation to utilities in California.

In December, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, for example, started buying power from Pattern Energy’s 350-MW Red Cloud wind farm in New Mexico for $41/MWh under a 20-year, fixed-price contract. The wind farm has an estimated 46% capacity factor, reflecting New Mexico’s strong wind potential, the LADWP said.

Pattern Energy has been active in the Southwest. In December, along with the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, Pattern Energy completed and sold the 345-kV Western Spirit Transmission line to Public Service Co. of New Mexico.

Pattern Energy said it is developing other interstate transmission projects, including the 525-kV Southern Spirit Transmission project, a bi-directional transmission line that would connect the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas to the Southeast market.

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