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Bill paves way for renewable-energy power lines
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A bill that would streamline construction of new transmission lines to connect renewable-energy projects' output to the main power grid is now before the Utah Senate.

SB76, sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, would create a quasi-governmental entity that could bond for transmission projects for qualified producers of wind, solar and geothermal energy.

Renewable-energy companies, not the state, would back the bonds with revenue and contracts for production as the industry grows by increments, Bramble said.

The bill is considered a companion to HB430, which would provide tax incentives for renewable-energy equipment manufacturers and developers.

A state-approved map of renewable-energy zones shows that solar, wind and geothermal resources largely are in rural areas. SB76 would help boost rural economic activity, supporters say.

During a legislative committee hearing Thursday morning, Beaver County economic-development boss Rob Adams noted that up-and-running wind and geothermal projects need new power lines so the renewable electricity can reach the market.

"Electrical transmission has been one of the biggest headaches we've had," he said.

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