Valley, Gridliance announce work starting on nearly $40 million project

A project is underway that is set to improve transmission reliability for Valley Electric Association Inc. member-owners and lay the groundwork for renewable energy development in the southwest part of the state.

Dallas, Texas-based Gridliance, an independent transmission company, and Valley, announced that they started work on a nearly $40 million project that will include adding 72 miles of optical ground wire between Pahrump and Boulder City and the construction of a switching station and more than three miles of 230-kilovolt transmission line, which will improve transmission reliability, according to a news release from the two groups.

“We are continuing the tradition of VEA’s excellent service and reliability in southwest Nevada in launching the Sloan Canyon improvement project,” said Calvin Crowder, president and CEO of GridLiance. “We also are excited to be building the future foundation for additional renewable energy development in the region.”

Gridliance is spending nearly $40 million on its 18-month-long Sloan Canyon transmission improvement project that includes the several dozen miles of optical ground wire, construction of a switching station and other work.

“Valley Electric is proud to partner with GridLiance on another project that will benefit VEA member-consumers,” said Angela Evans, VEA’s interim CEO. “The Sloan Canyon project will serve to improve reliability and should eventually provide more access to affordable renewable energy for VEA members.”

The more than 70 miles of “dual functioning optical ground wire” will act as a shield against lightning strikes and improve communications between interconnected substations and increase transmission reliability for member-owners of Valley, according to a news release. That portion of the project is set to be completed in December.

Work on the 230-kilovolt transmission line is slated to begin in 2019. The more than three miles of transmission line that is planned to be laid will connect the new switching station, the Sloan Canyon Switching Station, to the rest of its “transmission system controlled by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).” The new switching station will be located near Boulder City.

Gridliance closed on the roughly $200 million purchase of Valley’s more than 160 miles of 230-kilovolt transmission lines and related substation equipment, along with the transmission line project underway, in September 2017, according to a news release from Gridliance.

Gridliance is a portfolio company of Blackstone Energy Partners, which is an affiliate of Blackstone (NYSE: BX), an energy infrastructure investor.

Gridliance is moving along with its current project and has begun site preparation for installing the optical ground wire. The company has also begun performing “right-of-way maintenance for an access road in various locations along the existing line route and moving equipment into place for the construction of the switching station, which will start in October,” the company stated in a news release.

Residents in Pahrump, Jean, Good Springs and Sandy Valley may see construction crews performing “additional right-of-way maintenance on access roads and installing the optical ground wire that will traverse public lands” in the vicinity of those communities, according to a release.

“GridLiance also may rely on helicopters to install portions of the wire atop transmission towers scattered across the desert mountains,” according to a news release.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at On Twitter: @pvtimes

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