The White Pine County Commission approved unanimously last Wednesday, a resolution to support the Southwest Intertie Project.

Mark Millburn, vice president of LSPower that is overseeing the Great Basin Transmission LLC project, gave a presentation on a proposal to construct and operate a 500 kilovolt electrical transmission facility to be known as the Northern portion of the Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) that will be located in White Pine county.

Millburn explained to the commission that LSPower is a United States-based energy developing company that works with creating projects all over the US and throughout the West.

“We are responsible for over 1,000 miles of transmission lines, and over 40,000 megawatts of generation projects including coal, gas, solar, wind, hydro energy, pumped energy storage and data energy storage projects,” he said.

The one Nevada line that Millburn’s company built in conjunction with NV Energy that is operating in White Pine county, is 75% owned by LS Power, Millburn noted.

“That was the first phase of a larger build out of transmission to interconnect the west and provide reliability and access removable energy throughout the west,” he said.

The second phase of the project was recently completed that was a 60-mile segment in Clark County extending the project to further south, and there again it’s owned by LSPower.

“I’m here today because we are now in the last phase of our larger transmission build out that is going to interconnect the entire west,” he said. “It turns out in the western electric grid, there is north south transmission going through California there is alot of north south transmission going through Utah, there is this big hole in the middle of the western grid, so for reliability purposes, building a new connection from the Twin Falls area to the Las Vegas area, makes a significant reliability efforts.

“It also provides alot of economic advantages especially for this region.”

The SWIP is the final link of a 576-mile transmission corridor. The final phase called SWIP will be a 285 mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line that will be located in White Pine, Elko County and Twin Falls, Jerome in Idaho. They estimate that the start of construction will be as early as 2022, and the plan is to be online by 2024.

Federal and local permits have been secured. Millburn did note that they need a final permit with the Public Utilities Commission.

“In 2008 this project was brought before the commission seeking a special use permit and that was granted, Millburn said. “We came back in 2010 asking for support and that was granted as well by the commission. We’re ready to move forward.”

The presentation reported several benefits. One was that this is a $700 million plus project. Property taxes that will be paid annually will be another economic resource for White Pine. It is also reported to bring in up to 300 workers.

“They’rer going to need places to stay, places to eat, over a couple year construction period. It will be spread out over the 285 mile right of way, but they will be coming to this area,” Millburn said.

Part of the resolution also noted that the company will purchase goods and services from locally owned businesses in White Pine County and other eastern Nevada counties.
White Pine County Commission Chairman Richard Howe spoke in support of the project.
“As we look at this line and other lines that are coming through White Pine County, the potential new Pumped storage—energy is going to be a new vital part of White Pine County’s future,” he said. “ Without it, we are going to blow away in the dust. Fifty years of mining, we’re done, as we diversify our economy, and other lines a corridor, the White Pine grid, we would generate millions of dollars over the years.”

Howe also spoke of the pumped storage project, and noted the opposition that was being faced with that particular project.

“The future of White Pine County and the nation is power, energy, and your company is one of the largest, and it will be a very welcome addition to Wihte Pine County and the energy corridor that we are trying to develop,” he said.

When it came time to approve the resolution, the commission voted unanimously to approve the agenda item.