T&D World Magazine

NV Energy; Plans to Expedite North-South Transmission Line; Postpones Construction of Coal Power Facility in Nevada

NV Energy plans to construct of a 250-mi transmission line to electrically link northern and southern Nevada and will seek approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to accelerate its development. The proposed transmission line, which was part of the company’s original plan for the Ely Energy Center coal plant in White Pine County, will be designed to transport electricity from renewables and other energy production facilities in both northern and southern Nevada.

NV Energy, Inc. has postponed its plans to construct a coal-fired power plant in eastern Nevada due to increasing environmental and economic uncertainties surrounding its development. The company will not move forward with construction of the coal plant until the technologies that will capture and store greenhouse gasses are commercially feasible, which is not likely before the end of the next decade.

Michael Yackira, president and chief executive officer of NV Energy, said, “We firmly believe the plentiful sources of renewable energy – primarily solar, geothermal and wind – that either already exist or most certainly can be developed within our state make it imperative that we press forward on an expedited basis with transmission facilities so that Nevada and its citizens can benefit from these resources as soon as possible. The company has received numerous proposals for development of renewable energy in the state and has begun investing in renewable energy projects on its own. NV Energy further expects renewable energy projects to continue in the state for years to come. Because of this, we will request the PUCN to evaluate the transmission line separate from the Ely facility so that the line can be placed into operation no later than 2012.”

The Ely Energy Center had been delayed for several years because of permitting issues. As a result, NV Energy moved forward to start construction of a 500-MW plant at the Harry Allen Generating Station and acquired the 598-MW Higgins Generating Station in order to meet existing and future electricity needs in southern Nevada. Both the Harry Allen and Higgins Generating Stations burn natural gas, as does the Tracy Generating Station in northern Nevada, which was completed this past summer.

“The new natural gas plants we’ve recently added and are in the process of constructing in Nevada are more efficient than other power plants from which we were previously buying or producing power, somewhat similar to buying cars that get more miles per gallon,” Yackira said. “The result is that the overall costs of electricity today and in the years ahead will be less for our customers than they would otherwise have been by depending on the volatile markets outside of our state.”

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