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Electrical Energy Transmission in the West

Regional Transmission Planning Moving Forward

As co-chair of the Scenario Planning Steering Group of the Western Electrical Coordinating Council, WRA's Gary Graham has led the effort to include natural resource values, such as birds, wildlife, and water, in the long-term transmission planning for which the group is responsible. In his work with another group, Western Clean Energy Advocates, Gary is also working to establish renewable energy targets for the West to allow for a rough estimate of the amount of new transmission necessary to bring it to market.

Western Renewable Energy Zones Phase I Report Released
WRA Staff Plays Key Role in Producing Report

The Western Governor's Association released the Phase I Report of its Western Renewable Energy Zones (WREZ) Initiative. The report is an essential step to implementing utility-scale renewable energy development by identifying the areas where the best renewable energy resources exist and then examining transmission strategies to get this clean energy to the consumer.

The WREZ initiative seeks to balance the benefits provided by renewable energy with protection of wildlife and crucial habitats. Tom Darrin, WRA's transmission expert, is co-chair of the WREZ technical committee and helped provide guidance to achieve that balance.

“Our Western Governors should be commended for their leadership to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy in the West,” said Tom Darin. “By bringing all the players to the table this effort can help us chart a course for a balanced approach to new energy development in the West.”

Click here to read the report.

"Visualizing the US Electrical Grid"

NPR posted a convenient map on their website to help the public see the extent and complexity of the current US electrical grid. It helps the user see where new proposed transmission lines are and also where the best resources of renewable energy are situated. The map illustrates the importance of siting new transmission to take advantage of our best renewable resources. Missing from the map are sensitive areas that WRA is working to protect as the siting process moves forward. Click here to see NPRs mapping project.

WRA video on the web

WRA is featured in this segment of "Assignment Earth."

Resources and Related Links:

WRA's Transmission Planning Principlespdf

Energy Corridors to Link up New Coal Plants in the West

Download a new map that shows the relationship of proposed energy transmission corridors and new coal plants in the western U.S. high resolution map or low resolution map

Utah Geological Survey (6K) To meet future energy demands, utilities and federal agencies are now proposing to overhaul the western power grid. The upcoming years will be incredibly important as this major transmission build-out is planned and implemented in the region. WRA has responded by developing a new energy transmission program to influence these planning processes and achieve a sustainable energy policy for the West that, unlike the proposed energy corridors, focuses new transmission on linking up renewable energy resources. Click here (21MB .pdf) to download WRA’s transmission planning guide.

Transmission Projects:

West-wide Energy Corridor Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Get involved to protect important public lands and ensure that transmission corridors promote and facilitate a sustainable energy policy focused on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.

WRA's Materials on Corridor DEIS:

Agency Links:

Additional Materials:


National Interest Electricity Transmission Corridor


Colorado Senate Bill 100 Implementation


High Plains Express Transmission Project


TransWest Express Transmission Project


Eastern Plains Transmissions Project