Attorney John Kral, forefront, Administrator Mark Gabriel and Attorney John Bremer listen to TransWest Express CEO Bill Miller explain the siting for the northern terminal of the TWE Project (Photo by: Bill Boyd, TransWest Chief Operating Officer)
TransWest Express LLC Chief Executive Officer Bill Miller took a few Western employees to visit the site of the northern terminal for the proposed TransWest Express Transmission Project near Sinclair, Wyo., Aug. 6. The proposed TWE Project would create a path to bring more renewable energy produced in Wyoming to the market in California, Nevada and Arizona.
Western’s Transmission Infrastructure Program is providing up to $25 million to complete the development phase of the TWE Project. Western will decide whether to participate in the construction phase of the project after the environmental analysis is complete. The team also discussed a wind farm proposed in the area by affiliate company Power Company of Wyoming LLC.
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.
Rim Rock wind turbine owned and operated by NaturEner (Photo provided by NaturEner website)
Hundreds of people attended NaturEner’s opening ceremony Sept. 14 for the Rim Rock wind farm just north of Cut Bank, Mont., to celebrate overcoming the considerable challenges in making the wind farm a reality.
“There was a time last summer when we were doubtful we were going to be able to pull this off,” said Greg Copeland, Development Director of the U.S. division of the Spanish-owned NaturEner. Read more »
NaturEner reported it completed installation of 11 turbines as of July 3 on the southwest part of the Rim Rock Wind Farm, Mont.
Several stakeholders, including Western representatives, toured the Rim Rock site the last week of June to see the construction progress. The wind farm will be interconnected through the Montana-Alberta Tie Limited transmission line project.
You can see additional photos and read more about the project’s construction and environmental progress on NaturEner’s website.
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.
House Resolution 2915, which proposes to repeal Western’s Transmission Infrastructure Program’s $3.25 billion borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury, passed the House of Representatives Committee of Natural Resources with no amendments Oct. 5 with a 26-17 straight party-line vote.
While the three projects currently approved to use the borrowing authority – TransWest Express (development phase), Electrical District 5 – Palo Verde Hub and the Montana Alberta Tie, Limited – would not be impacted by the bill’s passage, no other projects being considered would receive funding.
“New transmission is urgently needed in the western United States. And yet, getting lines in the air has been far too slow over the past few decades,” said Lauren Azar, senior advisor to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a written testimony for a Sept. 22 hearing with the Subcommittee on Water and Power. “Western’s $3.25 billion of permanent, indefinite, borrowing authority is, therefore, a critical tool for addressing two of the major energy challenges we now face in the West — the need for additional transmission infrastructure and integration of renewables onto the grid.”
The bill will now be considered in the full House.
TIP’s borrowing authority constructs or upgrades transmission infrastructure within Western’s 15-state service area that has the reasonable expectation of helping deliver renewable generation to customers and is in the public interest.
The Department of Energy announced, Oct. 5, seven transmission projects chosen by President Obama’s administration for accelerated permitting and constructing by the newly-formed Rapid Response Team for Transmission, which brings together nine agencies to expedite and improve the coordination of necessary Federal approvals for building transmission.
One of the chosen projects, TransWest Express, is currently being funded partially by Western’s Transmission Infrastructure Program’s borrowing authority. Western will provide $25 million, or 50 percent, for the development phase to determine the technical feasibility of building the project.
“The RRTT selection highlights the TWE Project’s importance to the overall grid, its economic and environmental benefits, and its ability to create and sustain competitive, cost-effective energy for consumers in California and other states,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of TransWest Express LLC.
About Rapid Response Team for Transmission
The agencies included in the team are the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
A major milestone for the TransWest Express Transmission Project was reached Friday as the Western Area Power Administration and TransWest Express LLC announced an agreement to fund the project’s $50 million development phase.
The TWE Project development phase will determine the feasibility of constructing and operating a 725-mile, 600-kilovolt, direct current transmission line that would facilitate renewable energy delivery from Wyoming to the southwestern United States. The project would interconnect with the existing transmission grid near Rawlins, Wyo., and the Marketplace Hub, near Las Vegas, Nev.
Western’s Transmission Infrastructure Program will use its U.S. Treasury borrowing authority under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act amendement to the Hoover Power Plant Act of 1984 to fund 50 percent of the development phase. TWE , LLC will fund the other $25 million.
The press release in its entirety can be read in Western’s online Newsroom.