An environmental review process related to a 500-kilovolt transmission power line through Idaho and Nevada with trunk lines into the Delta area is on schedule, and public planning workshops will be scheduled in January.
The workshops will get public input on alternate routes.The project proposed by the Idaho Power Co. and other utility companies would link to Idaho Power facilities. Linkages at Twin Falls and the Intermountain Power Plant near Delta would provide several companies with additional transmission capacity.
A company update of the project notes that an environmental impact study was expanded earlier this year to include a proposed transmission corridor extension from Ely to Las Vegas. There are several proposed corridors for a line from eastern Nevada to Delta.
Concerns have been expressed about the expanded corridor to Las Vegas by officials at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas. They say the line could interfere with low-level training flights that originate at the air base. In some areas, the flights are as low as 100 feet above the ground while the transmission line towers will range in height from 120 to 130 feet.
It was reported that Air Force officials have agreed to raise flight levels in some of the areas while in others the tower heights will be lowered. Alternate routes outside the corridors have been developed for study.
The nearly completed EIS is being conducted by Dames & Moore of Boise, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management.
Idaho Power Co. officials say the project will provide these advantages:
- Increase reliability of interconnected transmission systems in the western United States.
- Provide access to a larger number of interconnected utilities in the southwest for northwest utilities.
- Create a more competitive utility environment compatible with IPCo's desire to establish an open market place.
- Offer seasonal diversity between the Northwest and the Southwest.
Officials said a public review period will follow release of the draft EIS. The BLM will then conduct public meetings to discuss the document. It is scheduled for completion in April 1991.