Nevada regulators authorize DesertLink to build 500-kV project, subject to certain compliance items

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, in an order dated April 16, granted an application by DesertLink, LLC, with the commission stating that the requested Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA) permit to construct – authorizing DesertLink to build the 500-kV Harry Allen to Eldorado Project – shall be issued, following satisfaction of certain compliance items.

The project involves an approximately 60-mile electrical transmission line and related facilities to be located in Clark County, Nev.

The commission also noted in its order that Great Basin Transmission (GBT) in December 2008 filed with the commission an application under the provisions of the UEPA, requesting a permit to build the project.

GBT in December 2014 filed an amendment to the application (referred to as the amended application), and on March 2015, the commission granted GBT conditional authority to build the project.

The commission added that GBT last October filed a “motion to transfer authority under application and compliance order” to DesertLink. The commission granted the motion to transfer on Jan. 31. The commission also said that on Feb. 20, DesertLink filed an amendment to the amended application (referred to as the second amended application).

DesertLink requested that the commission grant its request for a permit to construct the project.

As TransmissionHub reported, in its Feb. 20 filing, DesertLink said, “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.”

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.

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.

In its April order, the commission said that regulatory staff recommended that the commission issue an order for a UEPA permit to construct the project, contingent upon DesertLink obtaining and filing certain compliance items.

Staff recommended that a commission order granting the second amended application include a provision that states that no construction may begin on any utility facilities that are the subject of the second amended application for a UEPA permit to construct until after the commission has issued the permit to construct the project.

The commission added that staff recommended that a commission order granting the second amended application include a provision requiring DesertLink to file with the commission such compliance items as a final environmental assessment by the Bureau of Land Management; a right-of-use license by the Bureau of Reclamation; and encroachment permits for highway crossings by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Staff also recommended that a commission order granting the second amended application include a provision that states that if DesertLink does not file with the commission all of the requisite compliance items within five years of the effective date of the order, then the order will be deemed vacated, without further action by, or order of, the commission.

The commission added that staff further recommended that a commission order granting the second amended application include such findings and conclusions as:

  • The benefits of the project balance any adverse effect on the environment
  • DesertLink needs, and is in the process of obtaining, other federal, state, and local permits, licenses, and approvals for the project
  • The project will serve the public interest

The commission said that it adopts staff’s analysis and recommendations, and that it finds that DesertLink has met certain requirements. The commission noted that it also finds that it is in the public interest to grant the second amended application and issue the UEPA permit to construct the project, contingent upon DesertLink satisfying certain compliances, including the final environmental assessment by the Bureau of Land Management.

Among other things, the commission said that if DesertLink does not file all of the requisite compliance items within five years of the effective date of the order, then the order will be vacated without further action by, or order of, the commission.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.