Duke-American Transmission Co. (DATC) will take charge of the design and development of a proposed 950-mile 500-kV transmission line that would deliver wind energy generated in eastern Wyoming to California and the southwestern U.S.

The Zephyr Power Transmission Project was acquired from a subsidiary of Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy by the DATC, a joint venture between Duke Energy and American Transmission Co. that was formed earlier this year. In a press release, DATC said that Pathfinder, which is developing a wind power project on more than 100,000 acres near Chugwater, Wyo., had committed to use at least 2,100 MW of the Zephyr project’s 3,000-MW capacity.

The Zephyr project would originate in Chugwater and terminate in the Eldorado Valley just south of Las Vegas, Nev. The high-voltage direct current (HVDC) project, estimated at approximately $3.5 billion, will include an AC/DC converter station at each terminus.

“Zephyr is an ambitious energy infrastructure project that is laser-focused on providing an integrated solution to a recurring problem facing America: How do we get clean, renewable energy to the population centers?” Phil Grigsby, Duke Energy Commercial Businesses senior vice president, said in a statement.

DATC and Pathfinder also said they would work together to increase the viability of the generation and transmission projects. “The success of this transmission project is dependent upon on the success of Pathfinder’s generation project, and vice versa,” said John Flynn, vice president, Strategic Planning and Business Development for American Transmission Co. “By working together on a parallel development path, we avoid ‘the chicken and the egg’ dilemma that has often challenged major projects like this.”

DATC plans to continue studies, begin environmental analysis, and design routing and siting before seeking regulatory approvals next year. If approved, the transmission line would be in service in 2020.

Sources: POWERnews, DATC, Pathfinder