The company planning to build two high voltage transmission lines across southeast Arizona that will end near the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station has begun securing right-of-way leases in Cochise, Graham, and Greenlee counties. When completed, the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project will stretch more than 515 miles, enabling New Mexico wind energy to become electricity in California.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently signed agreements allowing SunZia to be built across 50 miles of federal lands in Arizona and 134 miles in New Mexico. The $850 million line — which includes 200 miles across Arizona — will come within 10 miles of Benson as it passes through northern Cochise County.
“We’re almost there,” explained Getts, adding it will take about 30 months to construct the first line. When asked whether SunZia will “buy American,” Getts replied the company “certainly prefers domestic” vendors, but noted some specialty supplies are only available from foreign markets.