Second transmission line proposed for western side of Nevada

For years, utility industry executives and regulators have longed to have one transmission line that directly connected Nevada Power Co. of Las Vegas with Sierra Pacific Power Co. of Reno.

The two companies, now both known as NV Energy, have been isolated from each other although they are part of the same holding company, NV Energy Inc.

A few weeks ago, LS Power of East Brunswick, N.J., received regulatory approval to build a transmission line on the east side of Nevada linking Las Vegas with transmission lines near Ely that run to Reno. LS Power has not announced whether it can sell enough transmission capacity on the line to make the project feasible.

Now, a second independent power company wants to build a second line on the west side of Nevada.

Vulcan Power Co. of Bend, Ore., is seeking approval from Nevada regulators to build a 347-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that would run from Yerington to Jean, giving Las Vegas and Southern California access to geothermal power resources in Northern Nevada.

Geothermal power plants are low-cost forms of renewable energy. Plant developers drill into underground reservoirs of heat and steam and use the heat to generate electricity.

Vulcan said it intends to use the transmission so that it can sell power from geothermal plants it is developing. The company did not respond to a call for comment.

NV Energy continues to plan its own transmission lines on both sides of the state, spokesman Adam Grant said.

Vulcan is seeking Public Utilities Commission approval under the state's Utility Environmental Protection Act. Separately, the company has applied to the Bureau of Land Management for a 200-foot right-of-way.

The transmission line would interconnect with Vulcan's planned line that would run from Fernley to Bishop, Calif. The Fernley-Bishop line is undergoing environmental review, and Vulcan expects to start building it later this year.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at or 702-383-0420.