Western, utilities commit to Arizona renewable transmission project

Lakewood, Colo., September 14, 2011 — Western Area Power Administration's Transmission Infrastructure Program and a group of electricity providers in Arizona committed to build a large-scale transmission project in Arizona's Maricopa and Pinal counties today.

Financed through Western's authority to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury, the project will increase transmission capacity to deliver renewable energy, primarily solar, to consumers in Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California.

The Electrical District No. 5 – Palo Verde Hub Project will connect a renewable-rich zone south of Phoenix, Ariz., with the Palo Verde market hub, a major electrical trading hub in the western United States.

The project would include 109 miles of transmission line, add 45 miles of new 230-kV transmission line and purchase capacity rights more than 64 miles of the 500-kV Southeast Valley Project transmission line.

Western will borrow up to $91 million from the U.S. Treasury to complete the project. The environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact were completed and signed Aug. 9, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

Upon completion in 2015, ED5-PVH will be able to deliver 254 MW of renewable energy to the Palo Verde market hub. This is enough to serve nearly 13,000 homes or 50,000 people. In total, up to 410 MW of bi-directional capacity will be added to the grid. The project will also support about 300 jobs in the local area during construction, which is scheduled to start late this year.

The project, planned and developed in cooperation with current Western customers and other electricity providers, is comprised of two parts:

By making use of existing rights of way, ED5-PVH minimizes cost, project length and land use impacts.

This is the third project Western has approved since receiving borrowing authority under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's amendment to the Hoover Power Plant Act of 1984. The law is designed to create transmission projects that help deliver renewable energy in Western's 15-state service territory.

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