The TransWest Express Transmission Project has passed a significant regulatory milestone with public release of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Western Area Power Administration (Western), said consultant AECOM in a May 13 statement.
The 730-mile project would add 3,000 MW of transmission capacity to the western U.S. electric grid, creating a critical link between renewable resources in the Rocky Mountains and the Desert Southwest by providing access to cost-effective wind energy.
AECOM, a fully integrated professional and technical services firm, prepared the final EIS for BLM and Western. It culminates six years of environmental analysis, routing studies, biological and cultural field surveys, and coordination of 50 federal, state and local agencies along with extensive public involvement and collaboration in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Earlier, AECOM’s Draft EIS for the project received EPA’s highest rating for adequacy.
Matthew Sutton, chief executive of AECOM’s environmental business, said: “Achieving the final EIS for this important energy transmission project is testament to the commitment and collaboration of public and private stakeholders, and the technical expertise of the AECOM team. We’re pleased to have played a key role in preparing the final EIS, facilitating a balanced approach to development and transmission of renewable energy to meet consumer needs while preserving environmental resources.”
AECOM said it has completed the NEPA process for 30 major energy and industrial development projects, including wind, solar, natural gas and oil pipelines, electrical transmission, power plants and mines under direction of BLM and other federal agencies. A similar AECOM accomplishment was preparation of the final EIS for the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind generation project in Wyoming, perhaps the largest proposed wind farm in the U.S.
The TransWest high-voltage, direct-current transmission line has been planned to complement existing lines and deliver 20,000 GWh per year of clean and sustainable energy to utilities in California, Nevada and Arizona. Two-thirds of the 730-mile transmission route lies on federal land managed by BLM, following designated utility corridors and co-locating with existing transmission to avoid or minimize impacts. The project would create up to 1,000 jobs during construction. Publication of the EIS in the May 1 Federal Register began a 30-day required public availability period followed by final Record of Decision scheduled for September 2015.
With nearly 100,000 employees —architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in 150 countries, AECOM blends global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering customized and creative solutions that meet the needs of client projects.