A proposed $3.5 billion power line connecting a Wyoming wind-energy project with Nevada would pass through Utah, moving enough electricity through the state to power 1.4 million homes in Las Vegas and Southern California
The companies behind the Zephyr Power Transmission Project conduct three open houses in Utah this week in St. George, Parowan and Milford, all communities near where the high-voltage, direct-current line would pass.
The project's purpose is to deliver power under development in Wyoming's windy southeast corner to consumers in the Southwest. The line's southern terminus would be Eldorado Valley south of Las Vegas, where the power would be converted to alternating current and sold through the distribution grid, according to Anne Spaltholz, a spokeswoman with the American Transmission Co.
Duke Energy and American Transmission formed a joint venture in 2011 to acquire and develop the Zephyr project.
The project's initial proponent, Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, is the company seeking to build hundreds of turbines on 150,000 acres near Chugwater, Wyo. Pathfinder is committed to use at least two-thirds of the line's 3,000-megawatt capacity.
The Zephyr Project will generate significant spending in local communities during construction, including materials and equipment purchases, real estate payments and fees and sales and use taxes, Spaltholz said.
About 500 miles of the 850-mile line lies in Utah. It would enter from Colorado near Vernal, pass through the Uinta Basin, then Nephi, then bend south dear Delta and exit the state west of St. George.
"We haven't yet filed any regulatory applications. We are doing outreach with various stakeholders including landowners," Spaltholz said. "We would like to get this feedback to make adjustments before we enter the permitting process."
Some 80 percent of the 250-foot right of way would follow existing utility corridors, and 60 percent of its path crosses federal land. The wires would hang from structures 100 to 125 feet high and construction would run from 2017 to 2020.
The Zephyr follows a similar route through Utah as the one proposed for the TransWest Express Transmission Project, another 3,000-megawatt power line connecting Wyoming wind energy to Vegas. Construction is expected to begin on that project next year.
Zephyr Power Transmission Project
P Open houses this week will be held from 4 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday • St. George at the Hilton Garden Inn
Wednesday • Milford City Office
Thursday • Parowan High School