AzGT Gathers Public Comments While Planning Saguaro-Marana Transmission Line

Growing demand prompts proposed infrastructure

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2022

Contacts: Geoff Oldfather, (520) 586-5465, C: (520) 444-3473, goldfather@azgt.coop
J.D. Wallace, (520) 586-5157, C: (520) 235-4203, jdwallace@azgt.coop

BENSON – The Marana area continues to grow, requiring more infrastructure to power new homes and businesses. Trico Electric Cooperative, a Member of Arizona G&T Cooperative (AzGT), has planned the new Adonis Substation to meet new demand, but the substation needs power. AzGT plans to meet the needs with the Saguaro to Marana 115/138kV Transmission Line Project. The project requires public input before any poles are raised.

AzGT plans to purchase a transmission line that runs approximately seven miles from a neighboring utility’s existing Saguaro Substation to near the proposed Adonis Substation. Additionally, AzGT is planning a new transmission line from the proposed Adonis Substation to AzGT’s existing Marana Substation.

“The project will increase electric reliability and serve growing energy needs,” said Kevin Barnes, AzGT environmental and land services manager. “It will also add transmission capacity to support future energy generation projects.”

A neighboring utility is adding a substation to serve Marana, and will locate a transmission line on the same poles for a portion of the route. The project will feature steel monopole structures that range from 65 to 95 feet tall with spans of 500 to 700 feet.

“The co-location of these assets minimizes environmental impacts and provides efficiencies in the permitting process required to build the line,” Barnes explained. Efficiencies include using one right-of-way for one route instead of two separate ones. The area is being studied to determine the final route. “We consider locating along existing roads and other utility rights-of-way,” Barnes said. “Routes that result in the least impact while providing an efficient path.”

AzGT and the partner utility must submit an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) to the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee, which will review the application and hear evidence from the study team and other stakeholders. A public hearing will likely be held in June.

Some 1,400 addresses in the affected area were mailed a newsletter that outlined the proposal and included a map of alternative transmission routes. The public can participate in a virtual open house and submit comments at the Saguaro to Marana Transmission Line Project website. Learn more at the Current Transmission Projects page, call (520) 586-5252, or email saguaromarana@azgt.coop.

map of Preliminary Route Segments
View full size map of Preliminary Route Segments (PDF)

The siting committee will consider forwarding the CEC to the Arizona Corporation Commission for final approval.

“We want to be good neighbors and understand how we can serve the growing demand for electricity in these communities, while doing so in a way that addresses concerns,” Barnes said.

About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives (www.azgt.coop). AEPCO owns and operates the 625-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 866 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities—and 36 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six Member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of AzGT Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits. Sierra has initiated two utility-scale solar projects. AEPCO’s 20 MW Apache Solar project is located on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of Apache Generating Station. The second project includes SunAnza Phase I, a 2 MW solar array, as well as SunAnza Phase II, which includes an additional 1.4 MW solar array and a battery storage system, all on property owned by Anza Electric Cooperative adjacent to its headquarters in Anza, California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A Member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and a California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza.

These Member cooperatives own AzGT and, by extension, AzGT’s Member distribution cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power.

AEPCO also serves five Class D energy services Members which are scheduling and trading customers and which include the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Phoenix, AZ; Lincoln County Power District #1, Pioche, NV; Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Southwest Public Power Agency, Maricopa, AZ; and Valley Electric Association, Pahrump, NV.

AEPCO is also a Member/owner of ACES, a nationwide energy management company that helps its Members and customers buy, sell, and manage energy more efficiently and with less risk. The AEPCO/AzGT Benson campus hosts the ACES West Regional Trading Center (WRTC), which benefits AEPCO/AzGT Members and customers.