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Billion Dollar Transmission Line Project Breaks Ground After Receiving Permitting Approval

FAST-41 covered SunZia Southwest Transmission project is projected to be a clean energy game changer in the West.

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Permitting Council Press Office (

WASHINGTON (September 1, 2023) –  Today, federal and state leaders gathered near Corona, NM for a groundbreaking ceremony to officially kick off construction of the FAST-41 covered SunZia Southwest Transmission project. Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) Executive Director Eric Beightel joined with Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury and White House Senior Advisor John Podesta to celebrate the $1 billion project that will play a significant role in President Biden’s clean energy agenda. 

“There are lots of conversations about the need for clean and renewable energy, but the renewable energy generated does no good without the transmission infrastructure to carry it to the people who need it,” says Eric Beightel, Permitting Council Executive Director. “SunZia is the perfect illustration of a project that will transform the energy landscape, bringing essential energy resources to the people and communities who need it most.”

The SunZia Southwest Transmission project recently received final federal environmental review and authorization approval, clearing the way for the project to advance clean energy by providing electricity transmission infrastructure in the west. The project will consist of a ±525-kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that will run through 550 miles of federal, state and private land in Central Arizona and New Mexico. Once constructed the project will transport up to 3,000 megawatts of primarily renewable energy from New Mexico to markets in western states. New Mexico is home to a significant source of wind energy and this project will enable the delivery of those resources to areas with high demand. 

The SunZia Southwest Transmission project is connected to the SunZia Wind project, a planned 3,500 MW renewable energy project also located in New Mexico. Together, SunZia Wind and Transmission could comprise the largest renewable energy infrastructure project in U.S. history. These projects are estimated to supply over 2,000 temporary construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs once operational and could bring clean power resources to 3 million Americans.

The SunZia Southwest Transmission project first gained FAST-41 coverage in July of 2021. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management served as the lead federal agency for the environmental review, with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers serving as cooperating agencies. For more information on the SunZia Southwest Transmission project visit

About the Permitting Council

Established in 2015 by Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), the Permitting Council is a unique Federal agency charged with improving the transparency and predictability of the Federal environmental review and authorization process for certain critical infrastructure projects. The Permitting Council is comprised of the Permitting Council Executive Director, who serves as the Council Chair; 13 Federal agency Council members (including deputy secretary-level designees of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Army, Commerce, Interior, Energy, Transportation, Defense, Homeland Security, and Housing and Urban Development, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairs of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation); and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The Permitting Council coordinates Federal environmental reviews and authorizations for projects that seek and qualify for FAST-41 coverage. FAST-41 covered projects are entitled to comprehensive permitting timetables and transparent, collaborative management of those timetables on the Federal Permitting Dashboard. FAST-41 covered projects may be in the renewable or conventional energy production, electricity transmission, energy storage, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource, broadband, pipelines, manufacturing, mining, carbon capture, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage and data management, and cybersecurity sectors. 


Last updated: Friday, September 1, 2023