Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | 11:22 a.m.
The public will get its first look next month at NV Energy's plans to build a giant transmission line connecting Northern and Southern Nevada and to export the power out of state.
On Aug. 24, the state Public Utilities Commission will hold a public workshop at which the utility is to disclose such issues as the potential cost, who will pay for it and if there is a demand for this renewable energy in states such as California.
"The purpose of the workshop is to provide a forum for all interested persons to identify and discuss issues pertaining to NV Energy's Renewable Transmission Initiative," the commission said in its order.
NV Energy, which supplies power to Las Vegas and much of Northern Nevada through its Nevada Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Power Co., has stressed the project is in its preliminary stages.
Estimates have put the cost of a 537-mile pipeline at $1 billion.
Faye Andersen, a spokeswoman for Sierra Pacific Power Co., says it's too early to set a cost estimate or establish the location of power lines.
The proposal has sparked controversy. Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed a bill passed by the Legislature that was pushed by company lobbyists.
The governor said he was concerned about the affect on Nevada ratepayers, and that the bill would have permitted NV Energy to bypass normal approvals from the Public Utilities Commission. And it would have allowed the utility to recover costs from customers for preliminary work.
NV Energy also asked the commission for permission to delay filing its resource plan, saying it's too soon in the process, but the commission denied that application.
The commission decided June 29 to open an investigation of the initiative.
It has ordered NV Energy to be prepared to address questions about the justification for the project; potential export markets; an analysis of the state's renewable resources; and how it will recover costs of preliminary engineering and construction.
NV Energy says the line is part of its plan to increase development of renewal energy such as geothermal, solar and wind and to export it.
The hearing will be held in commission offices in Carson City and videoconferenced to the Las Vegas office of the commission.