LS Power Postpones Construction of White Pine Energy Station Focuses on Completing Transmission Line for Renewables
LS Power affiliate White Pine Energy Associates, LLC, announced today that it is indefinitely postponing construction of the White Pine Energy Station near Ely, Nevada due to current economic conditions and increasing regulatory uncertainties. Instead, LS Power officials say they will focus the company’s efforts on completing the Southwest Intertie Project (“SWIP”), a planned high voltage electric transmission line project that will provide efficient access to renewable energy resources.
The SWIP is a 500-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that will extend from southern Idaho through eastern Nevada to the Las Vegas area. LS Power, through its affiliate Great Basin Transmission, LLC, has been advancing the SWIP since acquiring the development rights in 2005. The permitting and design of the project is now nearly complete and Great Basin could begin construction as early as mid-2009. As a result, the SWIP is the most advanced long distance, high capacity transmission project in the Western U.S.
The SWIP will help unleash the significant renewable resource potential that exists within Nevada and other parts of the Western U.S. According to the Western Governor’s Association, Nevada alone is believed to have significant renewable resource potential including geothermal, wind and solar energy. The SWIP will help facilitate the transmission of these renewable energy resources from areas that are remote and sparsely populated to areas where the power is needed and consumed.
“As demand for renewable energy increases we are focusing more and more of our internal resources on providing transmission solutions for both renewable project developers and load serving entities”, said Paul Thessen, president of LS Power. “The SWIP is our most advanced transmission project and we are focused on breaking ground on the project this year.”
In addition, the SWIP will provide the first high voltage tie between NV Energy’s northern and southern transmission systems enabling numerous benefits for Nevada and the western grid including increased economy energy transfers, reserve sharing, increased system reliability, ability to meet renewable portfolio standards and other benefits.
The SWIP will result in billions of dollars of economic benefits for Nevada and the surrounding region including the creation of thousands of jobs related to the construction of the SWIP, construction of renewable projects that will use the capacity of the SWIP and ongoing operations and maintenance of these projects. Based on an assessment by Energy Strategies, LLC, the SWIP combined with the renewable energy resources that could utilize the SWIP are expected to provide over $8.7 billion in total economic benefits to the region, over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and over 1,450 direct and indirect permanent jobs after construction.