Schedule and timeline
TransWest Express LLC conducted a corridor feasibility study to identify the proposed transmission line route and alternative routes, many of which are located within or adjacent to federally designated or proposed utility corridors, or parallel existing transmission lines or pipelines.
In 2008, TransWest applied for rights-of-way over federal lands because the proposed route and the alternative routes for the transmission line crossed federal land that is mainly administered by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service. The proposed project was considered a major federal action requiring the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The BLM and Western Area Power Administration were the joint lead agencies responsible for preparing the EIS, and coordinated with about 50 other federal, state and local government cooperating agencies. (To learn more about the NEPA process, check out A Citizen's Guide to the NEPA (PDF).)
The BLM and WAPA sought agency and public input on potential issues to be addressed in the EIS. Based on this input, the BLM and WAPA analyzed the proposed route for the transmission line and reasonable alternatives to that route. After issuing a Draft EIS for review and addressing comments on that draft in 2013, the agencies issued a Final EIS in 2015. A Record of Decision was issued by BLM in 2016 and by WAPA in 2017. Construction of the project will require two to three years, allowing the TWE Project to be in service well before 2030, when California utilities must be procuring 60% of their electricity from renewable energy sources.
TransWest EIS/Development Timeline Summary
|Nov. 30, 2007||National Grid filed a Preliminary Right-of-Way application and a Plan of Development with the Bureau of Land Management, which will prepare an EIS for the TWE Project.|
|July 2008||TransWest acquired the TWE Project.|
|Dec. 12, 2008||TransWest filed amended Preliminary ROW application with BLM.|
|January 2009||TransWest filed amended Preliminary Plan of Development with BLM.|
|Summer 2010||Western Area Power Administration joined BLM as joint lead agency for the preparation of the EIS.|
|January 2011||BLM/WAPA published the Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS on Jan. 4; initiated a 90-day public scoping period; held 23 public scoping meetings.|
|October 2011||Federal interagency Rapid Response Team for Transmission selected the TWE Project.|
|2008-2013||BLM/WAPA conducting studies and surveys; reviewing and developing alternatives; preparing Draft EIS.|
|July 2013||BLM/WAPA published the Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS on July 3; initiated a 90-day comment period; held 13 Draft EIS public meetings/hearings.|
|May 2015||BLM/WAPA published the Notice of Availability of the Final EIS on May 1, initiated a 30-day public availability period.|
|Dec. 13, 2016||BLM published its Record of Decision approving issuing rights-of-way for the TWE Project. BLM then published a Notice of Availability on Dec. 16.|
|Jan. 13, 2017||WAPA published its Record of Decision selecting the TWE Project route. WAPA then published a Notice of Availability on April 3.|
|May 31, 2017||USFS published its Record of Decision approving use of USFS land for the TWE Project.|
|June 19, 2017||BOR published its Record of Decision approving issuing rights-of-use for the TWE Project.|
|June 23, 2017||BLM issued the right-of-way grant for the TWE Project.|
|July 6, 2017||BOR issued the right-of-use license for the TWE Project.|
|June 26, 2018||USFS granted the Electric Transmission Line Easement for the TWE Project.|
|2017-2019||State and local permitting is estimated to be completed.|
|2020-2023||Transmission line is estimated to be constructed.|
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In the news
"A number of peer-reviewed studies have documented that the aggregate output of wind and solar plants spread over a large geographic area is much less variable than the output of plants clustered into a small area. Thus, a more robust grid can significantly reduce the cost of integrating wind and solar power with the grid by allowing larger power flows between regions as well as making it possible to access renewable resources from a greater diversity of areas."
- AWEA/SEIA Green Power Superhighways report, February 2009