Big zap: Huge new power lines in West get federal OK

Markets Associated Press

CORRECTS LOCATION FROM EAST TO WEST - FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2010 photo, clouds turn orange and purple as the sun sets behind the Happy Jack Wind Farm west of Cheyenne, Wyo. Two power line projects that won federal approval Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, ... will give a big capacity boost to the Western energy grid, including voltage from potentially the biggest wind farm in the U.S--Anschutz Corporation's Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm in southern Wyoming. The TransWest Express project will help California meet its renewable energy goals with wind power from Wyoming. (Michael Smith/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle via AP, file) (The Associated Press)

Two power line projects that won federal approval Tuesday will give a big capacity boost to the Western energy grid, including voltage from potentially the biggest wind farm in the U.S.

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The TransWest Express project will help California meet its renewable energy goals with wind power from Wyoming.

The Anschutz Corporation's Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm in southern Wyoming will power up to 1 million homes. Anschutz plans to begin building the TransWest Express power lines along a 728-mile route between the wind farm and southern Nevada in 2018.

PacifiCorp plans to increase reliability and capacity with its 416-mile Gateway South project along a roughly similar route ending in central Utah. Construction would begin in the early 2020s.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approvals follow almost a decade of planning.