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Transmission line projects could add to city coffers

Large-scale power transmission projects that may tap into Boulder City substations could bring the city additional lease revenue and improve the grid for Eldorado Valley solar facilities.

Three planned regional power transmission projects will terminate at Boulder City substations, said City Community Development Director Brok Armantrout.

TransWest Express, which will bring wind power from south-central Wyoming, Zephyr Power Transmission Project, which will bring wind power from eastern Wyoming, and a transmission project by LS Power, connecting Northern and Southern Nevada, are in the works, Armantrout said.

The four substations located within city limits, owned by various public and private entities such as the Western Area Power Administration and NV Energy, serve as connection points to California and Arizona.

With new lines coming into the substations, those leading out may need to be upgraded for a larger capacity, according to Armantrout.

The upgrades would benefit the city if it were ever to lease land for additional solar projects because some of the substations’ capacities are fully subscribed, he said.

“If we were to develop additional solar, it would be one of those other things to say we have the capacity,” he said. “That would be the positive side.”

The city, however, is leasing all the land it has designated for solar facilities.

Additionally, before the transmission projects can connect with the substations, terminals would need to be built to convert the current.

The terminals each would need to be built on about 40 of 50 acres of city property, Armantrout said. It would result in additional lease revenue for the city, but not much compared with the revenue from the city’s solar facility leases.

“Some lease revenue is always positive, but it’s in the tens of thousands of dollars, not the millions of dollars,” he said.

The city has not been informed where the transmission projects would like to build terminals.

“We have a rough idea where it’s going to be,” he said. “Where, exactly, they haven’t determined.”

When completed, the TransWest Express project will be a 725-mile-long direct current transmission line, delivering 3,000 megawatts of wind power from Wyoming to the desert Southwest, the project’s website states.

The project reached a milestone July 3, announcing that a draft environmental impact study had been completed, prepared by the Bureau of Land Management and the Western Area Power Administration.

The study resulted from more than four years of environmental analysis, public input and collaboration among more than 50 federal, state and local agencies.

A series of three-hour public meetings are scheduled to discuss the environmental impact study, including a 4 p.m. meeting Sept. 3 at Heritage Senior Park Facility, 300 S. Racetrack Road in Henderson.

The TransWest Express project plans to begin construction in 2014, finishing in 2016.

The Zephyr project plans to transmit 3,000 megawatts of wind-generated energy 850 miles to Eldorado Valley, beginning construction in 2017 and ending in 2020, the project’s website states.

LS Power did not return a request for project details by Tuesday.

There are no plans for the city to purchase the renewable energy provided by the transmission projects, but Armantrout said it would be possible if the power was cheap enough.

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