News of the agreement between MIT and the U.S. Department of Defense was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich.
The New Mexico Democrat says the study will help identify measures that will allow for the missions at White Sands to continue and for construction of the transmission line to move forward.
SunZia is expected to deliver wind- and solar-generated electricity from New Mexico to other western markets. Without transmission lines, Heinrich says New Mexico's renewable energy resources will remain largely untapped.
The outcome of the study is expected by February. Federal land managers say they will postpone until then any decisions regarding SunZia's route.