The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, in a Feb. 26 notice, said that interested persons may file by March 21 notices of intervention, petitions for leave to intervene, notices of intent to be a party, or make a limited appearance in the proceeding involving DesertLink, LLC’s Feb. 20 amended application regarding the 500-kV Harry Allen to Eldorado Project.
As noted in its filing, DesertLink is filing its second amended application with the commission for a permit to construct (UEPA Permit) the electrical transmission facility and ancillary facilities to be known as the Harry Allen to Eldorado Project.
DesertLink said that it currently holds conditional authority to build a utility facility under the provisions of UPEA pursuant to an order issued by the commission in the docket (Docket No. 08-12010) in March 2015.
In part, the first amended application described DesertLink’s intent to build, operate, and maintain a new approximately 60-mile, 500-kV, overhead transmission line between a northern terminus at NV Energy’s existing 500-kV Harry Allen substation and a southern terminus at the existing 500-kV Eldorado substation, including series compensation equipment, interconnection facilities, and communications equipment.
Two possible project configurations were described in the first amended application, both of which were analyzed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the final environmental assessment (EA), DesertLink added.
The project configuration approved by the 2015 compliance order consists of an independent alignment of new transmission structures for the entire distance between the Harry Allen and Eldorado substations (referred to as the “proposed action”). DesertLink also said that the first amended application described an alternative project configuration as well (described as “Alternative 1” in the final EA).
For Alternative 1, the project would use about 18 miles of open position on existing double-circuit transmission towers associated with NV Energy’s previously approved and built Harry Allen to Mead 500-kV transmission line project. DesertLink also said that it has executed a new commercial arrangement with NV Energy for the use of the existing double-circuit structures as part of the project.
Alternative 1 also includes the construction of about 42 miles of new transmission structures for a total length of about 60 miles, DesertLink said.
In the time since the 2015 compliance order, DesertLink has secured the necessary commercial arrangements to implement the project using the Alternative 1 configuration. DesertLink added that it filed a request with the BLM to amend the project’s right of way (ROW) grant, and with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to amend the project’s right of use (ROU) license.
In response, BLM issued a Determination of NEPA Adequacy that concluded the NEPA previously conducted sufficiently analyzed and disclosed the impacts of Alternative 1. BLM went on to issue DesertLink an amended ROW grant for Alternative 1, DesertLink added.
Coextensively, Reclamation issued a new Finding of No Significant Impact concluding that Alternative 1 can be implemented without significant impacts, and approved the issuance of an amended ROU license.
“With this second amended application, applicant seeks to amend the conditional authority issued by the commission to construct the utility facility utilizing the Alternative 1 project configuration” DesertLink added.
The transmission line would stretch between a northern terminus at NV Energy’s existing 500-kV Harry Allen substation – about 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas – and a southern terminus at the existing 500-kV Eldorado substation in Eldorado Valley, operated by Southern California Edison (SCE) – both in Clark County, Nev.
DesertLink added that the alignment is about 60 miles long and would be located parallel, as well as adjacent to, existing transmission facilities and within designated utility corridors for most of the alignment.
The project would exit the Harry Allen substation to the northeast, following an adjacent 500-kV transmission line for about five miles across Dry Lake Valley to the area of the Crystal substation. While the project would not involve a high-voltage interconnection at the Crystal substation, the project’s fixed series capacitors would be located in the southwest corner of that substation site, DesertLink added.
From the Crystal substation, the project alignment would proceed south and parallel up to three existing 500-kV transmission lines in the utility corridor along the eastern side of the Dry Lake Range and Sunrise Mountains.
Near project mile marker 27, the project’s conductor and optical ground wire would transition from the new alignment of transmission structures to the open position of the existing Harry Allen to Mead 500-kV double-circuit transmission structures (referred to as the “double-circuit structures”), DesertLink added.
From the point where the project would join the double-circuit structures, the alignment proceeds south past Lava Butte and enters the City of Henderson near the Las Vegas Wash. DesertLink also said that the alignment continues south through eastern Henderson and parallels up to four existing high-voltage lines along the western side of the River Mountains down to the Boulder Highway crossing.
From that crossing, the alignment parallels three high-voltage lines southwest to the Dutchman Pass area, where the double-circuit structures end near project mile marker 45.
Upon transitioning from the southern end of the double-circuit structures to the project’s alignment of new transmission structures, the route continues southwest across Dutchman Pass and enters the northwestern part of Eldorado Valley. The alignment then turns south in Eldorado Valley and runs within a major utility corridor along the eastern side of the McCullough Range down to the southern terminus at the Eldorado substation, DesertLink added.
Implementing the Alternative 1 configuration would consist of about 27 miles of new transmission structures from the Harry Allen substation to the northern end of the double-circuit structures, utilization of about 18 miles of existing double-circuit structures for the project’s conductors and optical ground wire, and about 14.5 miles of new transmission structures from the southern end of the double-circuit structures to the Eldorado substation, DesertLink said.
The project’s interconnection to the Harry Allen and Eldorado substations would require the addition of 500-kV circuit breakers, 100 MVAR shunt reactors, 500-kV busing, motor-operated disconnect switches, additional relay panels in the existing control enclosures, and various other auxiliary substation equipment. DesertLink added that interconnection studies indicate that neither substation would require expansions to accommodate the interconnection facilities.
DesertLink noted that the California ISO (CAISO) in 2015 conducted a competitive solicitation and selected DesertLink to develop, build, operate, and maintain the project.
The benefits of the project’s implementation are not exclusive to California, DesertLink said, adding that Nevada would realize benefits from the addition of the project, including additional import capacity, increased ability to participate in energy imbalance markets, enable development of new renewable energy resources within the state that may access additional energy markets, as well as provide improved reliability for Nevada and the Western Grid by increasing overall transmission capacity.
Additionally, implementation of Alternative 1 and DesertLink’s use of the double-circuit structures would result in a payment for the use of those facilities, the benefit of which would be realized by NV Energy ratepayers, DesertLink said.
As noted in its filing, DesertLink is an affiliate of LS Power Development. SCE is an Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company.