In a completely coincidental instance of perfect timing for embattled Harry Reid, the Obama Administration is lauding a $350 million federal loan to Nevada for a transmission line stretching from Ely to just north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The 235-mile line will connect future wind, solar, and geothermal power generation sites to population centers in southern Nevada and California.
“One Nevada” transmission line (ON Line) is the largest transmission project to receive funding from the Department of Energy’s stimulus funds.
Reid joined other political leaders and energy executives Tuesday at NV Energy’s Harry Allen Generating Station in Apex, about 20 miles north of Las Vegas, for the groundbreaking of the ON Line. The project is expected to begin transmitting power by the end of 2012.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hailed the line as part of the administration’s renewable energy efforts.
“As we develop renewable energy projects on public lands in the West and throughout the nation, we can take great pride in knowing that these projects are creating thousands of jobs for American workers and stimulating local economies as we move toward energy independence,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called ON Line’s launch “monumental,” and gushed that it was “a great day” for Nevada’s citizens. Harry Reid also showed great enthusiasm for the job-creating project.
“Nevada has renewable resources like nowhere else on Earth,” Reid said. “We are turning those resources into energy. We are turning those resources into jobs.”
ON Line is expected to create 400 construction jobs during its initial building phase, and it will also yield jobs tied to rural renewable-energy development.
“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,” said Reid. “These are good-paying jobs that can never be outsourced. This line will soon start to employ Nevadans, and it will always employ Nevadans.”
Reid predicted that ON Line would help make Nevada “energy-independent” within three years, adding that the line will eventually enable the state to export renewable power to California, where new laws require that state to pull one-third of its power from clean energy sources by 2020.