Routing new transmission lines
Identifying routes for a new transmission line involves significant information gathering and evaluation of input from local and state officials, resource agencies, landowners and the public. The Zephyr project team has spent more than a year identifying and reviewing sensitive environmental areas and land uses in seven western states.
Environmental and land use considerations
The Zephyr team identified and reviewed more than 200 potential environmental and land use constraints, such as national forests and parks, tribal lands, historic trails, wildlife refuges and habitats, wilderness and conservation areas, federal land and private land.
Selecting the proposed route for the Zephyr project
The Zephyr project team considered the following when developing the proposed route:
- The project’s 250,000-square-mile study area.
- Geographic or land use based regional constraints, such as the Great Salt Lake and Grand Canyon National Park.
- Routing opportunities, including existing transmission lines and federal energy corridors.
- Land use areas, such as private, tribal and agency managed lands.
- After identifying nearly 6,000 miles of preliminary transmission line routes, specific environmental and land use constraints were identified. By comparing viable routes, the route with the fewest environmental and land use impacts was selected and became the proposed route.
The proposed route is approximately 850 miles long and is located in four states (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada). Approximately 60 percent crosses federal lands (primarily managed by the Bureau of Land Management), while 80 percent follows existing utility and federal energy corridors, and 20 percent follows proposed future utility routes.