Utility regulators approve SunZia electricity transmission project

Solar panels

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona utility regulators have authorized construction of a controversial planned $2 billion transmission line between Arizona and New Mexico.

The Arizona Corporation Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to approve the 515-mile-long SunZia Southwest Transmission Project. The certificate is one of the last major permits the project needs.

The SunZia project aims to tap into wind resources in New Mexico as well as solar and geothermal potential in New Mexico and Arizona. The line will export electricity to markets in the West.

Commissioners Andy Tobin, Bob Stump and Bob Burns voted for approval, while Commissioners Tom Forese and Doug Little voted no.

Little said it’s a mistake to build the line through southeastern Arizona’s environmentally sensitive San Pedro River valley. Stump said the project is needed to help upgrade the electric grid.

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