There's power in the West, thanks to Western Area Power Administration. One of four power marketing agencies of the US Department of Energy, the enterprise operates 57 hydroelectric power plants and one fossil-fueled power generation facility with a combined generating capacity of about 10,400 MW. It also manages and maintains more than 17,000 miles of transmission lines. Western Area Power Administration sells wholesale power to investor-owned, government-owned, and cooperative utilities, power marketers, federal agencies, native American tribes and other electricity users (more than 680 direct customers with a total of 11.4 million end users) in 15 western states over a 1.3-million-sq.-mi. service area.
The company serves customers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
The enterprise has a multi-year project to find partnerships to develop Western Area Power Administration's transmission infrastructure (using renewable energy sources) to meet the power demands of its service area. About $3.25 billion in loans is being sought from the federal government to fund the plan.
In 2012, Western Area Power Administration signed an agreement with Centennial West Clean Line LLC, to serve as a joint lead agency with the Bureau of Land Management in conducting the environmental review for the Centennial West Clean Line Transmission Project (which will deliver 3,500 MW of renewable power from northeastern New Mexico to communities in California via a 900-mile overhead high-voltage direct current transmission line).
It is also working closely with California transmission providers to help that state meet its ambitious green energy goal of 33% of its total power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Western Area Power Administration was founded in 1977. Its hydroelectric power plants are owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Army Corps of Engineers.