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U.S. DOE announces $1.3B for transmission line projects

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Cameron Arcand

(The Center Square) – The U.S. Department of Energy announced a $1.3 billion investment toward growing the energy grid across the U.S., including Arizona and New Mexico.

The transmission lines are meant to help pivot from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and the Southline Transmission Project will run from Hidalgo County, New Mexico, to Pima County, Arizona, to assist "growing markets in Arizona" with their electric supply. Arizona is considered one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S., which increases the need for electricity. 

“To realize the full benefit of the nation’s goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035, we need to more than double our grid capacity and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda puts us in position to do just that,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement Monday.

“This historic effort to strengthen the nation’s transmission will drive down costs for American families and deliver thousands of good paying jobs for American workers—helping communities keep the lights on in the face of climate change-induced extreme weather events," she continued.

Governor Katie Hobbs joined Granholm in Cochise Monday morning to announce that the DOE is in "capacity contract negotiations," according to a news release.

The 175-mile Southline project is anticipated to begin in early 2025, but it is planned to be a part of a "longer line." In addition, it will be for 748 megawatts. 

The two other projects are a line between Nevada and Utah, as well as New Hampshire and Vermont. 

Monday's announcement garnered some bipartisan support, as U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., praised the project. Ciscomani said that thousands of jobs are expected to come from it. 

"What an amazing partnership, investing in our energy so that we can continue to lead in Arizona in this sector, but specifically here in southern Arizona, where we're expecting over 2,400 jobs being created from this project," he said in a video following the event Monday. 

"Very proud of the investment, very proud to have supported this from its inception, writing letters of support, we've been selected for it, and we inaugurated it today," the congressman continued.