Environment

Heavy electrical transmission lines at the powerful Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, located in California’s Mojave Desert at the base of Clark Mountain and just south of this stateline community on Interstate 15, are viewed on July 15, 2022 near Primm, Nevada. The Ivanpah system consists of three solar thermal power plants and 173,500 heliostats (mirrors) on 3,500 acres and features a gross capacity of 392 megawatts (MW).
George Rose | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management this week said it has advanced two transmission projects proposed by public utility NV Energy that would facilitate more renewable energy development and delivery in Nevada. 

The agency will start an environmental review for the Greenlink North project, which will span over 450 miles to connect Las Vegas to Reno, and release a draft environmental impact statement for the Greenlink West transmission project, which will cover 232 miles from Ely to Yerington.

Once completed, the projects will connect eight gigawatts of clean energy to the Western power grid. The plans would bolster the Biden administration’s goal to deploy 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands and waters by 2025 and achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2035. 

The announcement comes as Congress debates federal energy permitting overhauls, with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introducing a measure earlier this month to speed permitting of both fossil fuel and renewable energy projects.

Transmission projects involve expanding high-voltage lines that transport renewable energy to populated areas and will play a critical role in accelerating the clean energy transition while meeting growing power demand.

The BLM aims to finalize proposed documents and develop a record of decision for the Greenlink West project by late 2024. It will also release draft environmental planning documents for the Greenlink North project for public comment later this year.

“Our public lands have a critical role to play in the clean energy transition,” BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a statement. 

The agency said it has approved 35 clean energy projects over the past couple of years, including solar, geothermal, and gen-tie installations, which are anticipated to generate 8,160 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power more than 2.6 million homes.

Some projects include the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project in New Mexico and construction approval for California’s Sunlight Storage II Battery Storage System. The agency is also reviewing projects like Utah’s Star Range Solar Project and Nevada’s Bonanza Solar Project.

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