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The Department of Energy has finalized a $343 million loan guarantee to develop a 500-kilovolt transmission line in northern Nevada that will connect the state with renewable energy sources.

Transmission lines and infrastructure that enable renewable energies to get to customers are a crucial part of the cleantech sector. They’re particularly important for developers of large-scale renewable projects, which need lines to transmit electricity across the state or even over state lines in order to build a wind farm or solar installation. We wrote last year about a handful of efforts that were made in 2010 to construct transmission lines to service and enable wind energy projects in Texas, the Atlantic Coast, and the southern U.S.

This particular line, called the ON Line project — short for One Nevada Transmission Line — will have the capacity to carry about 600 megawatts. The loan guarantee is supported by the Recovery Act and is the DOE’s first loan guarantee for a transmission project.

“As our country increases its use of alternative energy sources, new transmissions lines like the ON Line project will play a vital role in moving clean energy from one region to another,” said DOE Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. “This project will create jobs, increase the reliability of the grid, and save money through greater efficiencies in the grid.”

The line is jointly owned by Great  Basin Transmission South and NV Energy, a Nevada utility that has been pursuing the smart grid aggressively lately. It recently chose Control4 to provide a residential demand response program, a smart grid-enabled feature that allows utilities to offer financial incentives for customers who agree to reduce energy use during peak times. NV Energy is also working with IBM on a smart grid and meter deployment and systems integration, backed by $138 million in stimlus funds.

[Image via Flickr/BFS Man]


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