TransWest Express

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TransWest Express
CountryUnited States
Coordinates41°46′0″N 107°15′0″W / 41.76667°N 107.25000°W / 41.76667; -107.25000 (Rawlins, Wyoming (north end))
35°49′0″N 115°0′30″W / 35.81667°N 115.00833°W / 35.81667; -115.00833 (Marketplace substation (south end))Coordinates: 35°49′0″N 115°0′30″W / 35.81667°N 115.00833°W / 35.81667; -115.00833 (Marketplace substation (south end))
General directionSouthwest
FromRawlins, Wyoming
Passes throughUtah
ToLas Vegas
Ownership information
OwnerThe Anschutz Corporation
Construction information
Technical information
Type of currentHVDC
Total length728 mi (1,172 km)
Power rating3,000 MW
DC voltage±600 kV
No. of poles2

The TransWest Express Transmission Line Project (TWE) is a planned bipolar HVDC transmission line between Rawlins, Wyoming and Marketplace substation near Las Vegas.


External image
image icon Overview of route map

The TWE is designed as a bipolar 600kV overhead power line 728 miles (1,172 km) long, and can transfer a maximum power of 3,000 megawatts at ±600 kV.

HVDC lines such as Path 27 and the Pacific DC Intertie can be distinguished by having two transmission wires, rather than the three necessary for transmission of three phase AC power.

The TWE is one of 7 projects tracked by the federal Rapid Response Team for Transmission. Gateway West and Hemingway are two other projects intended to transmit power between Wyoming and the Pacific West Coast.[1][2][3][4]

Although the line ends in Nevada, there is around 10 GW transmission capacity between Las Vegas and San Diego/Los Angeles in Path 46,[5][6] enabling power to continue to the west coast.


TWE started in 2005 when the Arizona Public Service Company investigated ways of transferring power from the Rocky Mountains to the west. In 2008 The Anschutz Corporation acquired the project, and Western Area Power Administration became a partner in 2010.[7][8] Anschutz also owns the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project (CCSM) near the Wyoming terminal; an area which has a wind capacity factor around 46%.[9] The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued environmental approval in December 2016,[10] and WAPA did so in January 2017.[11] The Zephyr Power Transmission Project is a similar project of bringing Wyoming wind power to California,[12] with an optional storage facility in Utah.[13] The Gateway West Transmission Line between Glenrock, Wyoming and Idaho also received approval.[14] TWE, CCSM and the Plains&Eastern powerline are being considered by the US Administration.[15]


The line is expected to cost $3 billion. Due to California's RPS requirement of 33% by 2020, NREL analysts estimate that the line saves $500 million to around $1 billion per year for Californian consumers, compared to Californian alternatives. NREL calculates that TWE has a benefit-cost ratio (BCA) between 1.62 and 3.62 if delivering 12 TWh/year with a transmission cost of $29 per MWh.[9] If transmission utilities use a BCA-threshold, they must set it at 1.25 or lower to find out if projects are feasible.[16][17] The power from Wyoming is eligible for Californian subsidy because TWE delivers it to the Californian grid, "at the doorstep" of California, near Las Vegas. Californian power prices are usually around $45 to $65/MWh.[18]


The northern terminal and substation converting from alternating current to direct current is expected to be south of Rawlins in Wyoming, near the Chokecherry wind farm. The line then runs south of the Uinta Mountains through Colorado and Utah. The Colorado section has been criticized as disturbing for sage-grouse.[19] The DC line has only two connection points, one at each end. Utah attempted to legislate a requirement to reserve 25% capacity for power from Utah, but lobbying by TWE kept full capacity to TWE.[18]

The part of the line that travels between Delta in Utah and Las Vegas shares its route with Path 27 (Intermountain line). Delta may become a connection point in the future. The southern terminal and substation to convert back from DC to AC is at the Marketplace substation south of Las Vegas and Boulder, Nevada.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Federal Permitting Transmission Tracking System
  2. ^ Map of tracked transmission projects
  3. ^ "Interagency Rapid Response Team for Transmission". 28 October 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2016 – via National Archives.
  4. ^ "CEQ Press Releases - Nine Federal Agencies Enter into a Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Transmission Siting on Federal Lands". 28 October 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2016 – via National Archives.
  5. ^ NEAC Strategic Transmission Discussion. Western states map, page 4-6 and 4-9
  6. ^ "California's Major Electric Transmission Lines". California Energy Commission. 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  7. ^ TWE History and background
  8. ^ TransWest Express and Gateway South, 2007
  9. ^ a b D. Corbus, D. Hurlbut, P. Schwabe, E. Ibanez, M. Milligan, G. Brinkman, A. Paduru, V. Diakov, and M. Hand. "California-Wyoming Grid Integration Study", page vi-xii. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, March 2014. NREL/TP-6A20-61192
  10. ^ "Global Transmission Report : TransWest Express Project, US". 6 January 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Environmental analysis concludes for TransWest". Rawlins Times. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017. This closes out that overall environmental process
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "BLM Authorizes Routes for Final Segments of Gateway West Transmission Line". BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Emergency and National Security list". President-elect Trump. p. 11, 18, 19. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities page 425. 18 CFR Part 35 [Docket No. RM10-23-000; Order No. 1000] Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Issued July 21, 2011. Quote: "a threshold may not include a ratio of benefits to costs that exceeds 1.25" Main page
  17. ^ Thomas J. Dougherty (30 March 2014). "Favorable Winds Continue to Blow for TransWest Express Transmission Project". The National Law Review. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  18. ^ a b Gabriel Kahn (29 June 2015). "How a Conservative Billionaire Is Moving Heaven and Earth to Become the Biggest Alternative Energy Giant in the Country". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 19 April 2016. take wind-generated electricity straight from Wyoming across Colorado, Utah, and Nevada and dump it into a substation on the California-Nevada border — a location that technically was part of the California grid
  19. ^ Dan Boyce (19 April 2015). "Birds Vs. Blades: Wind Power's Threat To The Sage Grouse". Inside Energy. Retrieved 19 April 2016.

External links[edit]