Pattern Energy Group has started full construction on its 3-GW SunZia transmission and 3.5-GW SunZia wind projects — the largest U.S. clean energy infrastructure project ever, according to Pattern Energy — after securing $11 billion in financing, the company said last week.
The 525-kV high voltage, direct current transmission line is set to run about 550 miles between central New Mexico and Arizona, where power is slated to be delivered to the Palo Verde hub, connecting to the California Independent System Operator’s system.
Pattern Energy, based in San Francisco, expects to begin delivering power via the bi-directional SunZia transmission line in early 2026.
The financing includes $8.8 billion in construction and term facilities as well as a $2.25 billion tax equity term loan facility. The tax equity facility monetizes project tax credit attributes, Pattern Energy said.
“The size and scale of both the SunZia project and this multifaceted financing show that the renewable energy space can secure attractive capital at levels previously only seen in traditional generation,” Daniel Elkort, Pattern Energy executive vice president, said.
The Clean Power Alliance, or CPA, in November approved a 575-MW, 15-year power purchase agreement with Pattern Energy to buy power from the wind farm. The contract’s pricing is confidential.
The fixed-price contract grew out of a request for proposals issued last year by CPA, a community choice aggregator that provides power to 30 municipalities in southern California.
Pattern Energy’s project has a 2,131-MW firm transmission limit at the Palo Verde hub, according to a November memo prepared for CPA’s board.
The project will diversify the CPA’s portfolio with wind generation, which is hard to acquire in California, and will provide energy and resource adequacy in hours of the day that are complementary to a typical solar plus storage profile, CPA staff said in the memo.
Pattern Energy worked with conservation groups to avoid, minimize or offset the project’s effects on wildlife and habitat, and it is supported by the National Audubon Society, CPA staff said.
Pattern Energy has additional offtake agreements for power from the SunZia project with Peninsula Clean Energy, Shell Energy North America and the University of California system.
Through the SunZia project, SunZia Transmission, a Pattern Energy subsidiary, may participate in CAISO through its proposed “subscriber participating transmission owner” model, which is being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Under the model, a transmission developer would place its facilities under CAISO’s operational control and use them to connect out-of-state generation to the grid operator’s system.
The transmission line is being built by Quanta Infrastructure Services Group and Hitachi Energy is supplying the HVDC line and equipment, according to Pattern Energy. Blattner Energy, a Quanta affiliated company, is building the wind farm using turbines supplied by GE Vernova and Vestas.
Pattern Energy is owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Riverstone Holdings.