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California and the West

Power line is planned for Southwest

October 24, 2006|From the Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. — Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and industry executives announced plans Monday to build a $2-billion power transmission line that would carry energy to the fast-growing cities of the Southwest.

If the line is successfully completed, it would run from the coal fields of Montana to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix. It would carry electricity created by either wind power or synthetic gas derived from coal to meet clean energy requirements in the Southwest.

Developers hope to complete the project by 2011, said Brad Thompson, a vice president of TransCanada, an independent power and infrastructure company.

Many hurdles exist. In addition to state and federal permits, the company also must secure agreements from utilities in the Southwest to buy the energy and from companies that want to build the wind power plants and the plants to turn coal gas into electricity.

The line, which would be dedicated to exporting electricity, would carry enough power for about 3.5 million people, Thompson said. It would travel west from eastern Montana and turn south through Idaho on its way to Nevada. Connectors from the Las Vegas area would run to Los Angeles and Phoenix, the governor said.

Thompson said the line could compete with others being planned to run from Wyoming to the same markets.

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