Build Begins on Wyoming-to-California Power Line
Following the wind power concerns, construction on the Wyoming-to-California power line has started. This line will enable electricity transmission from a wind farm with 600 turbines, and a total power of 3 GW, with an estimated project cost of the wind farm of $5 billion. Both the wind farm and the transmission lines are expected to be online by the end of 2027. This project will be the country’s biggest wind farm yet. The investor of both projects is The Anschutz Corporation, which is owned by Denver oil and gas billionaire Phil Anschutz.
The transmission line is called TransWest Express. It will transmit the electricity from the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farms from south-central Wyoming to Las Vegas, totaling 732 miles (1,178 km). The line will also cross northwestern Colorado and Utah. The approval was previously granted by the federal regulators back in April 2023. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nearly 60% of the electricity generated in Wyoming is exported to other states. However, there is ongoing skepticism about wind power in Wyoming, despite wildlife studies and federal environmental reviews.
TransWest Express executive vice president and chief operating officer Roxane Perruso said that Wyoming wind averages almost 13 mph (21 kph) day and night, year-round, matching well with daytime solar generated elsewhere. But so far there aren’t a lot of ways to get wind power from Wyoming onto the western U.S. power grid.
Perruso added, “So we’re going to enhance the ability to move renewables and other power, carbon-free power in the future, around the grid,”
Wyoming is the country’s largest coal producer and the only state that taxes wind energy at $1 per MWh, while lawmakers have already discussed raising it to $4 or more. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that wind power is crucial for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.