ON Line project nearing completion

NV Energy (NYSE:NVE) is nearing completion of its 500-kV One Nevada, or ON Line, transmission project that will connect the company’s northern and southern service territories with the connection of substations near the cities of Las Vegas and Ely, Nev.

“The One Nevada transmission line is still on target to be completed by the end of 2013,” an NV Energy spokesperson told TransmissionHub Nov. 15. “Construction activities are still in progress, and crews anticipate going into the commissioning activities later this month and into the month of December.”

Commissioning activities will include testing and fine-tuning of the main and back-up communications systems along the 231-mile line. The project includes a fiber optic cable system as well as a microwave communications system that enable substations along the project to communicate with each other.

“Crews will go through a wide variety of scenarios of loss of equipment and how the system responds,” the spokesperson said. “There will be quite a bit of that type of ‘smart-signal’ testing prior to putting the line into service.”

In addition to electrically interconnecting the service areas of its utilities Nevada Power Company (NPC) in the south and Sierra Pacific Power Company (SPPC) in the north for the first time and enhancing the efficiency of its electric system, ON Line will enable the development of renewable energy projects in some of the more remote parts of Nevada, according to the company.

Construction began during 2Q11 but tower construction was halted in February 2012 due to damage caused by the wind. The company was given permission to resume construction 10 months later by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN).

When complete, the line will connect the Harry Allen substation north of Las Vegas with the newly constructed Robinson Summit substation 20 miles west of Ely, Nev. Total project cost is estimated at $552m, according to the company’s most recent testimony filed with the PUCN.

In May 2013, NPC and SPPC filed a joint application with the PUCN to consolidate the utilities into a single jurisdictional utility. The ON Line project must be in service prior to the two operating companies merging, the spokesperson said.

The ON Line project is the first phase of a joint project between NV Energy and Great Basin Transmission South (GBT-South), a subsidiary of Great Basin Transmission. NV Energy, which has rights to 100% of the line’s capacity, owns a 25% interest in the project and has contracted with GBT-South for its 75% interest in ON Line until GBT-South completes other projects, according to NV Energy’s project fact sheet.

The other projects, the second phase of the build, comprise two transmission segments at either end of ON Line. GBT-South would finance and own 100% of those joint projects if it elects to pursue construction, NV Energy said in its 1Q13 Form 10-K. NV Energy subsidiaries Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power would have rights to transmission capacity on the northern segment.

MidAmerican Energy Holdings in May announced the companies had agreed to a definitive merger agreement whereby MidAmerican would acquire NV Energy in a deal valued at approximately $10bn. NV Energy’s shareholders approved the acquisition Sept. 25.