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Title: Analysis of Potential Energy Corridors Proposed by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council

Analysis of Potential Energy Corridors Proposed by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council This report, Analysis of Potential Energy Corridors Proposed by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), was prepared by the Environmental Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne). The intent of WECC’s work was to identify planning-level energy corridors that the Department of Energy (DOE) and its affiliates could study in greater detail. Argonne was tasked by DOE to analyze the WECC Proposed Energy Corridors in five topic areas for use in reviewing and revising existing corridors, as well as designating additional energy corridors in the 11 western states. In compliance with Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), the Secretaries of Energy, Agriculture, and the Interior (Secretaries) published a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement in 2008 to address the proposed designation of energy transport corridors on federal lands in the 11 western states. Subsequently, Records of Decision designating the corridors were issued in 2009 by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The 2012 settlement of a lawsuit, brought by The Wilderness Society and others against the United States, which identified environmental concerns for many of the corridors requires, among other things, periodic reviews of the corridors to assess the need for revisions, deletions, or additions. A 2013 Presidential Memorandum requires the Secretaries to undertake a continuing more » effort to identify and designate energy corridors. The WECC Proposed Energy Corridors and their analyses in this report provide key information for reviewing and revising existing corridors, as well as designating additional energy corridors in the 11 western states. Load centers and generation hubs identified in the WECC analysis, particularly as they reflect renewable energy development, would be useful in reviewing and potentially updating the designated Section 368 corridor network. Argonne used Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to analyze the proposed energy corridors in the WECC report in five topic areas:  Federal land jurisdiction,  Existing Section 368 corridors,  Existing transmission lines,  Previously studied corridor locations, and  Protected areas. Analysis methods are explained and tables and maps are provided to describe the results of the analyses in all five topic areas. WECC used a rational approach to connecting the hubs it identified, although there may be opportunities for adapting some of the proposed WECC routes to previously designated Section 368 corridors, for example:  The WECC proposed energy corridors are in fact centerlines of proposed routes connecting hubs of various descriptions related to electric energy transmission. Although the centerlines were sited to avoid sensitive areas, infrastructure proposed within actual pathways or corridors defined by the centerlines would sometimes affect lands where such development would not normally be allowed, such as National Parks and Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, and Wilderness Areas.  Many WECC proposed energy corridors are sited along centerlines of existing roads, including Interstate Highways, where in some cases additional width to accommodate energy transmission infrastructure may not be available. Examples include the WECC Proposed Corridor along Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado, and along U.S. Highway 89 across Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona.  Several WECC proposed energy corridors are parallel to designated Section 368 corridors that have already cleared the preliminary steps to right-of-way approval. In many of these cases, the WECC hub connection objectives can be met more efficiently by routing on the designated Section 368 corridors. « less
Authors: ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:OSTI ID: 1130390
Report Number(s):ANL/EVS-14/3
DOE Contract Number:DE-AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:Technical Report
Research Org:Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:USDOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE)
Country of Publication:United States
Language:English
Subject: 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY