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On our front page this week

  • Rocky Mountain Power gives update on transmission line project

By Rebecca Dopp
Times-News Correspondent

Don Watts, Customer and Community Manager at Rocky Mountain Power, updated Nephi City Council members about the Gateway South project which will bring 500,000 volt transmission lines through the area within the next seven years.
With energy use on the rise and electrical demand fast approaching the limits of the existing transmission system, new facilities are needed to meet the growing needs. This growth in demand for electrical energy comes from both new and existing customers. Individually, consumers today are using 26% more electricity than they did 20 years ago. To meet this increasing demand, new facilities are needed.
"The project we are talking about tonight is the Gateway South project and where we stand with it in the current process for permitting with the BLM (Bureau of Land Management)," Watts said.
The Gateway South project (Segment F) will be a high-voltage transmission line extending approximately 400 miles from the planned Aeolus substation in southeastern Wyoming into the Clover substation near Mona.
"That project will be completed this summer," he said. "That is mostly completed."
The BLM is currently developing an Environmental Impact Statement on the company's right of way application for this project, a process that began in December 2008. The first draft of this statement is scheduled to be presented this summer.
More than 7,700 newsletters were sent to landowners in the study area for input. Watts said that tribal lands, BLM and Forest Service would also be affected by this project.
When supplying their Request for Application for Permitting, RMP is required to supply the BLM with a reasonable amount of alternatives for every project submitted. They submitted a map with lines representing a 2-mile wide study area.
"All of this is done to find one path from Aeolus to Clover that will eventually be 250 ft. wide as far as the easement goes," he said.
The structures for the transmission lines, depending on terrain, will vary between 140-190 feet tall and be 500kV. Instead of having two 345kV lines, the higher voltage line will provide enough capacity and have less impact on surrounding areas.
The BLM has the final decision on the routing of the transmission lines.
Nephi will be affected by this project because there are proposed transmission lines coming down Salt Creek Canyon. There is a reason for that. Watts said that because of a policy made during the Clinton administration that affects federal lands, no new roads can be constructed on certain federal lands. RMP needs to have maintenance roads adjacent to the lines and cannot construct on the inventoried roadless areas.
"The only path we have to take is through the canyon, which impacts a lot of private property owners as well as city and county," he said.
Letters were sent to landowners within the study area to ask for permission for RMP and BLM to access the properties to gather information including soil testing, terrain, etc. It does not give RMP any rights to the properties other than to access them for information.
"It does not mean that the line will come by your property," he said.
The company will continue to involve the public in all aspects in the planning and development of this project. For more information, go to www.pacificorp.com/tran/tp/eg/gs.html