Duke-American Transmission Co. is hosting a series of open houses to seek public feedback on its proposed route for the Zephyr Power Transmission Project, a nearly 850-mile transmission line that would deliver wind energy generated in eastern Wyoming to population centers in the southwestern U.S.
As proposed, the Zephyr project will begin at the Pathfinder Wind Energy Development near Chugwater, Wyo., cross portions of Colorado and Utah, and terminate near the Eldorado Valley, just south of Las Vegas. The 500-kV high-voltage direct current transmission line will include converter stations at each end point.
The transmission project will have a 3,000 MW capacity — enough power to supply 1.4 million average homes. Connecting 3,000 MW of Wyoming wind energy to the southwestern U.S. could result in $600 million in savings to ratepayers in California markets, according to DATC.
The proposed route was developed over the past several years, and included identification and review of more than 200 environmental and land use constraints. About 80 percent of the route follows existing utility or federal corridors, with 20 percent on proposed future utility routes.
The open house meetings will be held in 18 communities. Following the open houses, the public's feedback will be considered in finalizing the route before DATC initiates right-of-way permitting and regulatory review later this year. If approved, project construction would begin in 2017 with a targeted in-service date of 2020.
DATC is a joint venture between Duke Energy and American Transmission Co. formed in 2011 to plan and develop strategic transmission projects across the U.S. and Canada.