The Transwest Express Transmission Transfer Final Impact Statement has been released, and Connie Simkins, secretary of the N-4 Grazing Board, told County Commissioners in May, a transmission line corridor has been chosen.
“It’s the route BLM had recommended,” she said. The N-4 Grazing Board had proposed another route that passes through an already existing corridor, “which wouldn’t have affected as many cattle operations. The route chosen will disturb 13 ranchers,” she said.
At the same time, it is not the route TransWest wanted either, Bill Boyd, executive vice-president explained in a later telephone interview.
Even though Lincoln County did not have their proposed route selected, Simkins suggested the Board write a letter to the BLM saying they still wanted to be involved “and want a seat at the table.” She noted a BLM regulation that stated BLM must meet with ranchers who will be affected by the transmission line before a formal application and plan of operation is submitted, and I will be working strongly on that.”
Commissioners felt it would be prudent for them to have “a seat at the table” in any planning.
The selected route comes into Nevada at Ursine, to Crestline and Haypress, then drops south past Barclay, into Garden Spring and Summit Spring and joins an existing line cutting through the southeastern edge of the state at Gourd Spring north of Flat Top Mesa.
The project proposes to provide transmission infrastructure and capacity to deliver approximately 3,000 megawatts of electric power from renewable and other energy resources in south-central Wyoming to the Marketplace substation hub in the El Dorado Valley, near Boulder City. Two thirds of the 730-mile route lies on federally managed land by the BLM.
The proposed project would consist of an approximately 600-kilovolt, direct current transmission line, a northern terminal located near Sinclair, Wyo., and a southern terminal approximately 25 miles south of Las Vegas. A ground electrode system (required for transmission line emergency shutdown), each about 600-acres in size, would be installed within 100 miles of each terminal. It is designed to deliver about 20,000 gigawatt hours per year of clean and sustainable energy – enough for nearly 2 million homes – to multiple utilities in California, Nevada and Arizona that seek cost effective supplies of renewable power to provide for their retail customers.
In addition, a TransWest statement noted the line will “create a critical link between the diverse renewable resources in the Rocky Mountains and Desert Southwest regions to efficiently transmit energy to utilities in both regions when the wind blows and the sun shines.”
The proposed transmission line would cross Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada, and encompass lands owned or administered by the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, various state agencies, Native American tribes, municipalities and private parties. The BLM and TransWest have included the government entities as cooperating agencies throughout this EIS process.
This project would include two AC/DC converter stations, about 200 acres in size at each terminating point and a fiber optic network communications system.