Transmission line fight ends in compromise
A major battle between a company building a $3 billion transmission line across Utah and power producers in the state ended with a compromise Thursday that assures the electric generators could vie for access to the 3,000-megawatt line.
TransWest Express is building the power line from Wyoming to Las Vegas to deliver wind power and other electricity to the Southwestern states.
When it goes up in 2017, it will cut across Utah, but Utah generators worried that without a terminal in the state, they wouldn't be able to get access to move electricity along the line. If TransWest were to build a terminal, the Utah generators would be able to seek access.
TransWest had said it planned to build one near Delta at some point, but that assurance wasn't enough for Utah power companies like Blue Castle Holdings, which is laying the groundwork for the state's first commercial nuclear plant near Green River, and some solar companies.
HB44 had sought to require TransWest to give the Utah generators access to the power line, but TransWest objected to being told whom they had to provide with access.
Under the compromise bill, which passed late Thursday, TransWest commits to giving the generators notice when access to the line is made available, enabling them to seek to move electricity on the line.
The battle had sparked a massive lobbying surge in the closing days of the session, with about two dozen lobbyists working on both sides of the bill.