The Transmission Infrastructure Program Electrical District 5 – Palo Verde Hub project in Arizona’s Pinal and Maricopa counties reached a major
Completion of the 22-mile segment between ED5 and Test Track substations represents nearly half of the new and upgraded line construction needed to complete the project.
construction milestone recently with the completion of 22 miles of new 230-kilovolt transmission lines between ED-5 substation and Test Track substation.
The new segment of transmission line represents half of all new construction and line upgrades required for the project, which will increase transmission capacity to deliver renewable energy, primarily solar, to consumers in Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California.
Construction was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, saving Western and the project proponent money and keeping the project on track for early 2015 energization.
The next step in the project is to expand Test Track substation to accomodate the increased transmission capacity. At the same time, the other half of transmission line upgrades will continue through early 2014.
Two Western employees participated in the Bureau of Land Management Solar Workshop in Las Vegas Nevada March 6-8, 2012. BLM put on the workshop to provide information to Bureau of Indian Affairs on developing solar projects on Federal lands.
These workshops include reviews of BLM environmental impact studies, BLM solar zones, and panels on lessons learned and project sponsor challenges.
Western Operations Support Specialist John Steward provided an overview of transmission development processes with a focus on solar projects. “It was a great experience to speak at a workshop that provided me the opportunity to educate others on Western’s role as a transmission service provider and a facilitator for interconnections,” said Steward.
Transmission Infrastructure Program Senior Investment Officer Roman Fontes also participated in the BLM workshop. He served on a development panel with other Federal agencies and commercial developers discussing the standards and selection process used to screen projects for viability. “BLM solar workshops are an important forum for exchanging information with BLM, BIA, NREL and industry partners on key development tasks to realize solar projects,” said Fontes. “The panel discussed challenges and lessons learned for commercial developers and including commercial aspects of Purchase Power Agreements and Transmission Service Agreements, and bank and finance requirements.”
Fontes also conducted a follow up session with BIA participants on commercial and finance structures, negotiations and lease and lease-back arrangements.
Renewable Energy Systems Americas employees continue work on the MATL line Jan. 12 near Sweetgrass, Mont. (Photo courtesy of Enbridge)
Taking another step toward bringing renewable energy to market, this month contractors got back to work on the Montana Alberta Tie Limited project.
After receiving a notice to proceed on construction Jan. 10, Renewable Energy Systems Americas employees, hired by Enbridge, got boots on the ground quickly and began remediation work on some existing structures and line near Sweetgrass, Mont.
With 60 percent of the transmission line and substations already completed, Enbridge and RES are continuing to make progress on the line north of Marias River.
Funded partially through Western Area Power Administration’s Transmission Infrastructure Program, Enbridge expects to complete the 214-mile, 230-kilovolt line in 2012.
“Enbridge is committed to quality construction of the line and timely completion of the project,” said Vi Michaelis, Western’s project manager for MATL. “We are very encouraged by the construction restart.”
Once completed, MATL will interconnect the 189-megawatt Rim Rock wind power project, which announced its notice to proceed on construction Jan. 9.
On Jan. 9, NaturEner announced its plans to construct the Rim Rock wind power project, which will bring 189 megawatts of renewable energy online through the Montana Alberta Tie Limited project.
NaturEner secured a $320 million construction loan with Morgan Stanley Jan. 9, putting the project on track to be commercially operational by the end of 2012. With the MATL line expected to be placed into service in 2012, Rim Rock will have the transmission access it needs to deliver renewable energy.
“The strong financial backing of the U.S. Department of Energy, carried out through Western, has enabled MATL which, together with incentives such as the Production Tax Credit, has allowed Rim Rock to proceed,” added Jose M Sanchez-Seara, CEO of NaturEner. “We greatly appreciate the U.S. Government’s support for renewable energy generation and the transmission lines that allow them to deliver the energy to markets across North America.”
Rim Rock is a 189-MW wind farm project located in Glacier and Toole Counties, Mont., that will consist of 126 Acciona AW-77 1.5 MW turbines. The project area encompasses about 21,000 acres of private land. The project is expected to generate enough energy to power more than 60,000 homes and will offset more than 389,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.