Battle Lines Drawn Over Transmission in Arizona

A David and Goliath battle is shaping up in Arizona, where town officials in Casa Grande have vowed to fight efforts to run a 500-kV transmission line through their city. Planners in Phoenix and Tucson argue that the line is vital to their cities' continued growth. The line would provide additional transmission capacity between the 3,800-MW Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and Arizona's tw...

03/01/2003


A David and Goliath battle is shaping up in Arizona, where town officials in Casa Grande have vowed to fight efforts to run a 500-kV transmission line through their city. Planners in Phoenix and Tucson argue that the line is vital to their cities' continued growth.

The line would provide additional transmission capacity between the 3,800-MW Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and Arizona's two largest metropolitan areas. It would also provide some system redundancy and allow for better connections to the larger grid. The line is one of two called for in a recent study describing projected power needs in central Arizona.

Casa Grande, with a population of approximately 19,000, is located directly between Phoenix (population 1.3 million) and Tucson (population 440,000). Salt River Project (SRP), a state-run power authority, has proposed three routes through the small community. However, local officials are calling on SRP to consider an existing right of way controlled by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), which cuts through the adjacent Gila River Indian reservation.

Casa Grande officials are also calling for 230-kV step-down connections to the new line to give the city's local distribution system access to the added transmission capacity.

The battle comes as Arizona struggles to meet the needs of its rapidly growing population. According to the 2000 census, the state's growth rate is second only to Nevada. Reports issued by the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2000 and 2002 underlined the state's lack of adequate existing or planned transmission capacity.

From Pure Power, Spring 2003





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