BLM approves enviro review for 600-kV TransWest transmission project

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will announce in the Dec. 16 Federal Register the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) approving the TransWest Express 600-kV Direct Current Transmission Project right-of-way in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.

In November 2007, National Grid filed a ROW application with the BLM to construct and operate an extra high voltage transmission line between Wyoming and delivery points in the Southwestern United States. An amended application was filed in 2008, and the project application was transferred to TransWest Express LLC, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Corp.

TransWest submitted additional amended applications to the BLM in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 to reflect minor changes and refinements to the proposed project. In April 2010, the BLM and Western Area Power Administration (Western) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the BLM and Western agreed to act as joint lead agencies in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.

The BLM’s status as a joint lead agency is based on the BLM’s potential federal action to grant a ROW across BLM lands. Western’s status as a joint lead agency is based on its potential federal action to provide federal funds for the proposed project.

Western and TransWest entered into a development agreement (executed in September 2011, amended in June 2014) wherein Western agreed to support project development by providing technical assistance and/or financing. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Utah Reclamation Mitigation Conservation Commission are cooperating agencies in the proposed project, based on their potential issuance of permits authorizing the use of lands under their management.

The Selected Alternative approved by the BLM’s ROD is a 728 mile, 600-kV direct current transmission system centered within a 250 foot wide corridor, and includes access roads and ancillary permanent facilities. Approximately 275 miles (38 percent) of the Selected Alternative are located within designated federal utility corridors. It is also colocated with existing transmission lines for a distance of 398 miles (55 percent of the total length).

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.