SunZia SunZia

Project Information

Project Description

The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project is planned to be approximately 515 miles of two single-circuit 500 kV transmission lines and associated substations that interconnect SunZia with numerous 345 kV lines in both states. SunZia will connect and deliver electricity generated in Arizona and New Mexico to population centers in the Desert Southwest.

SunZia will increase power reliability and enhance domestic energy security in the Desert Southwest through strategic interconnections with the underlying extra high voltage grid in Arizona and New Mexico. The electricity distributed by SunZia will help meet the nation's demand for renewable energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels for power production.

Land Use

icon2The ‘Preferred Alternative’ identified by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is approximately 515 miles and is comprised of 185 miles of federal lands, 220 miles of state lands and 110 miles of private or other lands in Arizona and New Mexico. The BLM’s final determination on SunZia’s alignment has not been made.  View detailed maps.

icon2Right-of-way corridors for both lines may be up to 1,000 feet, depending on terrain conditions. Typical right-of-way corridor width is 200 feet per 500 kV circuit.

 icon2Use of private property will be acquired through fee purchase and easements.

Typical Characteristics of 500 kV Transmission Lines

icon2Lattice steel towers (see below for images of typical tower structure drawings)

icon2Towers will be approximately 135 feet in height. Tower heights will vary depending on terrain.

icon2The distance between towers will be approximately 1,400 feet. This separation will vary depending on route elevation and terrain.

icon2Access to line and tower locations will make maximum use of exisiting roadways, but new roads, many only for construction use, will be needed.

icon2The project may utilize aerial construction techniques to minimize ground disturbance, where necessary.

Typical Tower Designs

tower design

Substations

SunZia currently proposes to interconnect with up to five substations:

icon16Pinal Central (near Coolidge in Pinal County, AZ)

icon16Willow 500 kV (East of US 191 in Graham County, AZ)

icon16Lordsburg (located in Hidalgo County, NM)

icon16SunZia South, also referred to as Midpoint (near Deming in Luna County, NM)

icon16SunZia East (near Corona in Lincoln County, NM)

 

Other substations may be constructed along SunZia's route.

Configuration Options

1. Two single-circuit 500 kV AC lines that have an approved rating of 3,000 MW from the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.

2. One single-circuit 500 kV AC line and one single circuit 500 kV DC line with an estimated power transfer capacity of up to 4,500 megawatts.

Configuration number 2 will depend on how much power transfer capacity is in demand by the energy market in the Desert Southwest. In addition, the project’s construction will likely occur in phases (e.g.: line number 1 being built prior to line number 2, etc.) and segment (e.g.: portions between substations may be built and energized before subsequent similar segments, etc.).

An Economic Impact Assessment was jointly prepared by:

                                             

Economic and Business Research Center                   Arrowhead Center, Inc.
           Eller College of Management                          New Mexico State University
             The University of Arizona                                Las Cruces, New Mexico
Tucson, Arizona                                                              

                                                            

 

Summary of Economic Impacts to Arizona & New Mexico
     
  6,200 jobs during a four-year construction period to build SunZia's transmission lines and substations
     
  Over 36,700 jobs during a 2-year construction period for renewable generation projects

  Up to 600 permanent jobs from transmission and generation operations
     
                                          
 

Summary of Economic Impacts to Arizona
     
  Over $145 million in estimated wages and salaries (including benefits) during construction of SunZia
     
  Over $25 million in state and local taxes during construction of SunZia
     
  Over $5 million per year in wages and salaries during operation

                                         

Summary of Economic Impacts to New Mexico
     
  Over $275 million in estimated wages and salaries (including benefits) during construction of SunZia
     
  Over $65 million in state and local taxes during construction of SunZia
     
  Over $2 million per year in wages and salaries during operation

    

 

Learn more about the economic impacts to the counties that were studied in the Economic Impact Assessment.




Arizona Counties:      New Mexico Counties:

      Cochise                Chaves        Lincoln
      Graham                De Baca        Luna
     Greenlee               Dona Ana      Otero
        Pima                    Eddy          Sierra
        Pinal                   Grant         Socorro
                               Guadalupe    Torrance
                                 Hidalgo

 

 

 

 
 

 

Download the Economic Impact Assessment prepared by the University of Arizona and New Mexico State University:

 SunZia Southwest Transmission Project

Potential Renewable Generation Facilities

Project Team

tom wray webTom Wray – Project Manager

As Project Manager for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, Mr. Wray is responsible for the overall coordination and completion of all required development.  Click here for more information on the development of the SunZia Project. 

Mr. Wray has forty years' experience in the domestic electric power industry, focusing on EHV transmission and large power generation project development. He is considered an expert in the siting, development and regulatory approvals of greenfield generation and transmission projects.

His previous positions include founding partner in SouthWestern Power Group; founding partner of Groves, Wray and Associates; numerous positions over a seventeen year career with Public Service Company of New Mexico; and past membership in the New Mexico State Senate. He was the author of the country's first legislative initiative authorizing customer choice, open access and retail competition in the electric utility industry.

Mr. Wray holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University, and graduate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado and business administration from the University of New Mexico.


cindy bailey webCindy Freeman – Assistant Project Manager

As Assistant Project Manager, Mrs. Freeman's primary responsibility is to aid the management and completion of all development activities for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project.  She also provides representation for the Project Manager in numerous important forums. 

Mrs. Freeman acts as Secretary to the Development Committee that is comprised of the project’s sponsors.  

Mrs. Freeman received a B.A. from the University of Arizona.

 

 


mark etherton web

Mark Etherton – Engineering Manager

Mr. Etherton is the Assistant Project Manager and Engineering Manager for the development of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project. 

Mr. Etherton is the Director of the PDS Business Unit of Power Engineers, Inc.  He has twenty-eight years of electric utility experience with responsibilities ranging from system planning and analysis, protective relaying, project management, substation design and communications systems, as well as approximately nine years in utility supervision and management. Mr. Etherton has been actively involved with the regional transmission planning organizations, including: WestConnect; Southwest Area Transmission Subregional Planning Group and its various subcommittees; independent power producers and the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Mr. Etherton achieved a B.S. in Electrical Engineering (with an emphasis in Power Systems) from New Mexico State University.  He has been a Registered Professional Engineer in Arizona since February 1990.

 

david getts web

David Getts - General Manager of SouthWestern Power Group

Mr. Getts joined SouthWestern Power Group in 2001 and is responsible for the overall business and project development efforts of the company which includes the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project.

Prior to joining SWPG, Mr. Getts was a banker for 15 years financing infrastructure projects in Europe and the US, with an emphasis on the power generation industry. He has financed over 20 projects in the power generation, transportation and metals industries. He has arranged over $4.0 billion of project finance debt and over $750 million of private equity finance related to infrastructure projects.

Prior to his banking career, Mr. Getts was an engineer in the petrochemical industry in Europe and the Middle East for 7 years.

 

 

gary crane web

Gary Crane - Environmental Manager

Dr. Crane is the Environmental Manager for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project and is responsible for environmental permitting activities as defined by local, state, and federal agencies.

Dr. Crane has extensive experience negotiating and serving as a liaison with regulatory agencies, permitting, compliance and environmental law. He has technical expertise in computer modeling, statistical analysis, technical writing and expert testimony.

Dr. Crane's previous positions included Vice President of Environmental Engineering for Ogden Energy Group, Inc.; Project Manager for Parson Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc.; Scientific Consultant and Atmospheric Scientist for Goddard Institute of Space Studies; Environmental Consulting Engineer for United Engineers and Constructors, Inc.; and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physics for City University of New York. 

 


martin bailey webMartin Bailey – Real Property Manager

Mr. Bailey the Real Property Manager for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project and is responsible for all real property activities.

Mr. Bailey has over 20 years of experience in real estate and property management and the development of real estate assets. He served as a director for several Native American councils and organizations promoting resource management and economic development.

His previous positions include Director of Real Estate Services for the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe; Coordinator and Land Use Specialist for the Colorado River Indian Tribes; and Senior Appraiser and Development Officer for Bank of America.

 


van wilgus web

Van Wilgus – General Counsel

Mr. Wilgus serves as the principal general counsel to the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project.  His responsibilities include providing legal advice and coordinating various attorneys to assist the permitting, siting, business transactions, and federal and state matters, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

Mr. Wilgus has over 30 years experience in the energy, utility and independent power industries with a focus on development, regulation, and mergers and acquisitions.  He has extensive experience with rural electric utilities and Rocky Mountain area independent power projects. 

His previous positions include senior legal positions with EnergyWest, Inc., Rocky Mountain Natural Gas Company and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.  He was also senior legal officer, business development vice-president and part owner of Colorado Energy Management (CEM). 

Mr. Wilgus received a B.A. from The Colorado College and a J.D. from the University of Wyoming. 

 

Sponsors

 The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project is sponsored by the following companies:

 

srp logo  Salt River Project                 

                                                                                              

 swe logoShell WindEnergy

 

 swpg logonewSouthWestern Power Group II/MMR Group

 

tgt logoTri-State Generation and Transmission Association

 

 tep logoTucson Electric Power

 

 

Anchor Tenants

SunZia's Anchor Tenant Process
 
Starting November 1, 2011, SunZia Transmission LLC ("SZT") commenced an anchor tenant process for up to 50% of the merchant capacity available on the proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project (the "Project").  SZT is interested to discuss reserving future transmission capacity and the subsequent sale of long-term transmission service rights for up to approximately 1350 MW at negotiated rates with qualified potential anchor tenants.  For additional information, see the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Order on SunZia Petition, 5/20/2011 (Docket EL11-24-000).
 
The Project is proposed as of two single-circuit 500kV lines and associated substations that are expected to deliver primarily renewable energy from central and southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona to load-serving entities in Arizona, California and other western markets.  SZT is offering delivery from and to the following delivery points: SunZia East, Midpoint, Hidalgo, Willow 500 kV, Pinal Central and Hassayampa/Palo Verde.  SZT expects to achieve commercial operation in 2016.  Additional information about the Project is available here.
 
Interested parties should contact David Getts via email at dgetts@southwesternpower.com and request the anchor tenant criteria that SZT will use to determine which parties qualify for anchor tenant discussions.  In due course, SZT will hold an open season for the remaining 50% of the merchant capacity and any unsubscribed anchor tenant capacity.  Interested parties who meet the open season screening criteria will be eligible to participate in the open season process.  These eligible parties may include parties who did not meet SZT's anchor tenant criteria or who were not successful in concluding anchor tenant arrangements with SZT.