IBEW union members to help build SunZia transmission line


The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) signed a project labor agreement to build the SunZia transmission line across Arizona and New Mexico. The $1.4 billion, 580-mile 525-volt HVDC transmission line is said to be the largest clean energy infrastructure project in North American history.

“The men and women of the IBEW are proud to partner with Pattern Energy and Quanta Services, Inc. on this historic energy infrastructure project. SunZia won’t just slash carbon emissions, but create good, middle class jobs throughout the region, and this transmission PLA guarantees that,” said IBEW International President Kenneth W. Cooper. “More good-paying, union jobs will create an economic ripple effect throughout Arizona and New Mexico, pouring money back into local communities.


SunZia Transmission proposed route through Arizona and New Mexico.

Image: Pattern Energy

The transmission line originates at a planned substation in near Corona, New Mexico, and traverses eight counties in New Mexico and Arizona before terminating at an existing substation in Casa Grande, Arizona. It will provide more than 3 GW of renewable wind power from central New Mexico to an estimated 3 million homes in central Arizona.

The IBEW labor union represents over 800,000 workers and retirees in the electrical industry in the U.S., Canada, Guam, Panama, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. IBEW reports that more than 500 IBEW members will be employed in construction of the project. Pattern Energy reports that once construction is complete, approximately 150 permanent jobs will remain.

“The IBEW leads the way in recruiting and training the highly skilled workforce needed to build out a clean energy infrastructure and a resilient and modern grid,” Cooper said. “As the best trained, most experienced electrical workers in North America, the IBEW is ready to play a leading role in America’s renewable energy future by getting to work making SunZia a reality.”

Pattern Energy reports that, in addition to jobs, the project will bring multiple benefits to the region. Of the developer’s estimated $8 billion investment, Pattern says an estimated $1 billion will go to governments, communities, schools and landowners in both states in the form of sales and use taxes, property taxes, and land payments to federal, state, and private landowners.

Pattern Energy is a U.S.-based developer with a portfolio of more than 35 power facilities and transmission lines globally.

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