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Harry Reid breaks ground for ON Line north-south transmission line



harryreid1-150x150-6016220-1280566Sen. Harry Reid today joined officials from NV Energy, LS Power, the Department of Energy and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar in breaking ground for the ON Line, the first phase of a north-to-south clean power transmission line. This new transmission line will create jobs in construction and maintenance, help the renewable energy industry expand in Nevada and improve clean energy transmission capacity in the West.

Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office, announced that the line is the first transmission project financed by Recovery Act’s loan guarantee program. Reid played a critical role in laying the legislative foundation for this project.

Construction on the ON Line connecting Southern Nevada with Northern Nevada begins this year and should be operating by 2012. The entire project will be an aboveground 515-mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line stretching from Idaho to Southern Nevada that will provide up to 2,000 megawatts of transmission capacity for Nevada and the Western electric grid. NV Energy and LS Power have formed a partnership to build the transmission line.

Below are Reid’s prepared remarks:

“We all learned long ago that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. This project proves that one of the quickest and strongest routes to recovery is an energy transmission line. Nevada has renewable resources like nowhere else on Earth. We are turning those resources into energy. We are turning those resources into jobs.

“That’s what this transmission line is all about. The hundreds of Nevadans who will work on this line will help us unleash Nevada’s clean-energy potential–and will help us connect the northern and southern ends of our state. These are good-paying jobs that can never be outsourced. This line will soon start to employ Nevadans, and it will always employ Nevadans.

“This line also means two more things. First, it is evidence that the Recovery Act is doing exactly what it was supposed to do: It is helping us get back on our feet. Even more than that, it is helping Nevada become a leader once again.

“When that bill became law, we invested $67 billion to develop clean energy and half a billion dollars to train a new green-collar workforce. These Americans will go to work every morning making our nation more energy efficient and energy independent. And it is because of the Recovery Act that the Department of Energy can provide low-cost financing to make this project possible.

“Second, this project is the result of a private-public partnership. It demonstrates what is possible when business and government–a utility and a merchant company–come together for the common good of our state. Big projects like this take a lot of people, time and cooperation to move forward. This one is going to get done a lot faster than almost every other transmission project in the country.

“That’s because of the hard work of Interior Secretary Salazar, Deputy Energy Secretary Poneman, Jonathan Silver, and of course my friends Michael Yackira and Mike Segal. Thank you to all of you. Because of your vision, we’re growing a new industry in this state. And when we do, we’ll see renewable energy renew Nevada.”

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