A Utah bill that would have required the developers of TransWest Express to enter into an agreement with generators in the state prior to being able to obtain permits now only requires that the company provide notice of the company’s open solicitation process.
Utah House Bill 44 (H.B. 44), sponsored by Rep. Stephen Handy and Sen. Curtis Bramble, passed on March 13 with the revised language, requiring merchant transmission lines to notify the Utah Office of Energy Development when commencing the line’s competitive process.
“TransWest believes this resolves the business and legal issues raised by the prior versions of the bill,” a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub. “We will continue to move ahead with the permitting process and look forward to the day we energize the TransWest Express transmission project.”
The 725-mile, 600-kV HVDC line as proposed would deliver Wyoming’s wind energy to Nevada, crossing a portion of Colorado and the entire state of Utah. The project has substations at either end of the line.
As originally introduced, H.B. 44 was designed to ensure that in-state generators in Utah interconnect to the HVDC line. The company argued that such a requirement preempted a fair and competitive process, and would favor in-state over out-of-state generators.
TransWest Express in its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) has included an option for a converter station to interconnect with the Intermountain Power Project near Delta, Utah. The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of preparing the final EIS, which has encountered delays.
The project is one of seven projects that was selected as a pilot fast-track project by the Obama Administration’s rapid response team for transmission (RRTT), which was established to coordinate the permitting review among the numerous federal and state agencies involved, provide consistent consultation with tribal governments, and assist in resolving interagency conflicts.