NV Energy announces completion of 231-mile transmission line

A year behind schedule, NV Energy’s ON Line project connecting Northern and Southern Nevada electric systems is complete, officials said today.

The 231-mile, half-billion-dollar transmission line runs from the Harry Allen Generating Station north of Las Vegas to the Robinson Summit Substation near Ely, along the eastern side of the state.

The power line is 75 percent-owned by LS Power, an electric-transmission operator and developer, and 25 percent-owned by NV Energy, Nevada’s primary electric utility and a unit of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

The estimated $552 million project, formally known as the One Nevada Transmission Line, took three years to build and was backed by a $343 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. Las Vegas-based NV Energy has rights to all of the line’s initial capacity unless LS Power expands the project.

Michael Yackira, CEO of NV Energy, said ON Line would play a “vital role” in developing renewable energy.

“This project also helps to strengthen our reliability, as well as provide important dispatch capabilities that will help our customers save on energy,” he said in a news release.

Still, the project faced some hiccups.

In February 2012, NV Energy executives said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that ON Line had been expected to be in service by Dec. 31, 2012, but would be delayed by at least three months.

They attributed the delay to wind-related damage of some tower structures, prompting developers to tell work crews to lay down some existing towers and to refrain from adding more to the transmission line.

Asked why the delay lasted a year, NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht cited "the time it took to determine and implement a technical solution for the wind-induced vibrations that caused damage to some of the towers."

Yackira is retiring from NV Energy in June. NV Energy President Paul Caudill will then become the company’s top executive.