October 30, 2023 (Cochise, AZ) – The United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) today announced Phase 1 of the Southline Transmission Project (“Southline”) as one of three transmission lines selected as part of a $1.3 billion commitment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Transmission Facilitation Program. Selected transformative transmission projects will cross six states and together will add 3.5 gigawatts (“GW”) of additional grid capacity throughout the United States, equivalent to powering approximately three million homes.
Black Forest Partners, LP and GU Southline LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grid United, LLC, are co-developing Southline, a 278-mile, high voltage transmission line that will connect the electrical transmission systems of the El Paso and Tucson metropolitan areas. Hunt Transmission Services is also a founding investor. The design provides the capability to transport power bi-directionally and will enable wind and solar resources from the Desert Southwest to reach key markets while improving the grid reliability of the border region. Phase 1 of the project could be operational by 2027.
“To realize the full benefit of the nation’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, we need to more than double our grid capacity and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda puts us in position to do just that,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This historic effort to strengthen the nation’s transmission will drive down costs for American families and deliver thousands of good paying jobs for American workers—helping communities keep the lights on in the face of climate change-induced extreme weather events.”
Through the DOE’s Transmission Facilitation Program, a $2.5 billion revolving fund to help overcome the financial hurdles associated with upgrading and building new, large-scale transmission lines, the DOE is entering into capacity contract negotiations with three interregional transmission line projects that will strengthen grid resilience and reliability and enable the addition of more clean energy resources to the grid. Through capacity contracts, the DOE will commit to purchasing a percentage of the total proposed capacity of the selected transmission lines. By offering capacity contracts, the DOE increases the confidence of additional investors, encourages additional customers to purchase transmission line capacity, and reduces the overall risk for project developers.
“We are thrilled that the Department of Energy has selected Southline for the transformational Transmission Facilitation Program. With TFP’s endorsement, Southline’s timeline will be meaningfully accelerated to reliably and cost-effectively deliver new resources to meet the region’s growing energy needs,” said Doug Patterson, Managing Partner of Black Forest Partners. “We have worked collaboratively with stakeholders over the past 14 years to get Southline ready in a way that maximizes benefits and minimizes impacts, and the TFP capacity contract is the catalyst we and other award recipients need to get these critical projects into service.”
Al Vickers, Chief Operating Officer at Grid United, added, “With a total capacity of 1,000 MW, Southline is a major infrastructure project with far reaching benefits to the Desert Southwest. We are grateful to the Department of Energy for implementing programs that help to upgrade and expand our nation’s transmission system. Southline’s strategic goals align with those of the Transmission Facilitation Program – we are both working to provide electricity when it’s needed, where it’s needed to ensure that all communities have access to reliable, resilient and affordable electricity. We look forward to continuing to work with Black Forest Partners and the DOE to move Southline towards construction and deliver tangible benefits to local project area communities.”
About Grid United: Grid United is an independent transmission company aiming to modernize the United States’ power grid to create a more resilient and efficient electric system that uses the nation’s abundant and geographically diverse natural resources to the benefit of all consumers. For more information, visit www.gridunited.com.
About Black Forest Partners: Black Forest originated Southline and serves as the Project’s managing member. The Black Forest team has thirty years of investment and development expertise, ties to the local region, and a deep commitment to leveraging existing assets to advance infrastructure that maximizes benefits and minimizes impacts.
About Hunt Transmission Services: Based in Dallas, Texas, Hunt Transmission Services is a subsidiary of Hunt Energy and is a founding investor in the Southline Transmission Project. It is part of a larger privately-owned group of companies managed by the Ray L. Hunt family that engages in oil and gas exploration, refining, LNG, power infrastructure, and energy technologies.
Ashley McGeary: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ally Copple for Grid United: email@example.com