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NV Energy and Great Basin Transmission bring Nevada transmission in line with renewables

Jan 12, 2010 - NewNet

NYSE-listed holding company NV Energy and Great Basin Transmission, an affiliate of LS Power, have signed an agreement to jointly own a 500KV transmission line, which will provide access to isolated renewable energy resources in parts of northern and eastern Nevada.

The line will also connect NV Energy’s northern service area with its service area in southern Nevada, which will enhance overall energy-sharing efficiencies and renewable energy utilisation. NV Energy said it will purchase Great Basin’s share of capacity on the jointly owned line under a long term agreement.

Michael Yackira, president and CEO of NV Energy, said, ‘Transmission infrastructure is essential for bringing renewable resources to market, and with as much yet-to-be-developed geothermal and wind energy that we have in the northern part of the state, a single transmission line connecting the north to the south brings enormous opportunity for future renewable development.’

Both companies have been developing separate lines in the same Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) corridor that spans 235 miles from north of Las Vegas to near Ely, Nevada. Great Basin has obtained the major federal, state, and local approvals required to construct the line, and both companies are seeking a financing agreement with Western Area Power Administration.

Great Basin is currently developing expansions of the SWIP to the north and to the south to provide access to additional renewable energy resources and markets and additional reliability benefits. Under the arrangement, NV Energy will have rights to capacity on these expansions and additional capacity will remain available for sale to third parties.

The joint ownership of the project is contingent upon the execution of final agreements and would require the approval of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. NV Energy will include the joint ownership proposal as its preferred alternative in its upcoming integrated resource plan filing with the commission.

‘This project is a great example of how the local utility, an independent energy project developer and the Federal Government can work together to deliver a project that is superior to the alternatives. It will enable transmission access for renewable energy projects that were otherwise isolated from the market and provide reliability, efficiency and other benefits to the transmission system,’ said Mike Segal, chairman and CEO of LS Power.

Construction of the jointly owned line, which the companies expect will provide market access to spur the development of new renewable energy generation projects, will result in around 400 jobs and millions of dollars in sales and use tax and property tax payments for Nevada counties and schools.

Great Basin is a single-purpose company formed to develop, finance, construct, own, and operate the Southwest Intertie Project, wholly owned by LS Power, a power generation and transmission group.