News Release – 6.14.2013


“We hope that it will provide more detailed information about why this project is needed, as well as how the project’s environmental impacts will be addressed,” said John Shepard, senior adviser for the Sonoran Institute. “While we have not taken a position in support of or opposition to this project, we believe that SunZia has the potential to ship significant amounts of wind power and other renewable energy from New Mexico to Arizona and California markets. We continue to have significant concerns, however, about the line’s environmental impacts, which must be effectively mitigated if this project is to go forward successfully.”

Shepard is a co-author of the report, Evaluating the SunZia Transmission Line Proposal, which was released in November, 2012.

Background on the Proposed SunZia Transmission Project

The SunZia proposal involves the construction of two high-voltage transmission lines extending from Lincoln County in central New Mexico, to Pinal County in south central Arizona. Also to be constructed are up to four new substations that would allow power to be added to, or taken from, the transmission line.

In November, 2012, the Sonoran Institute and Headwaters Economics of Bozeman, Montana, released a report indicating that the line’s construction, as currently configured, depends on its ability to export renewable energy from New Mexico – especially wind and solar power – to markets in Arizona and California.

For more information about the report and the Sonoran Institute’s work on renewable energy, click here.

The Sonoran Institute inspires and enables community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America. The Institute is a nonprofit organization that is working to shape the future of the West. For more information, visit