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Officials mark completion of 231-mile power line

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The completion of a 231-mile electricity transmission line in Nevada will strengthen the regional power grid and help tap renewable geothermal energy sources in the northern part of the state and solar in the south, officials said Thursday.

The high-voltage One Nevada Transmission Line, dubbed the ON Line project, stretches across 844 tower structures from NV Energy's Harry Allen Generating Station outside Las Vegas to a new Robinson Summit Substation west of Ely.

The line cost just over $552 million to build and began service earlier this month, energized to 500 kilovolts with an initial capacity of up to 800 megawatts, NV Energy officials said.

"This vital project will deliver hundreds of megawatts of clean renewable energy to the grid," U.S. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement. Reid, who noted that hundreds of workers helped build the line, took part in a christening ceremony Thursday in Moapa.

The federal Energy Department provided a $343 million loan guarantee to Great Basin Transmission South for the project in 2011. Completion was delayed for a time to solve wind and vibration issues.

Great Basin Transmission South, an affiliate of New York-based LS Power Group, owns 75 percent of the project. NV Energy, Nevada's dominant electric utility, owns 25 percent.

The companies said that NV Energy has rights to all of the line's initial capacity until LS Power completes other potential project phases, collectively known as the Southwest Intertie Project.

Thursday's dedication followed the completion last month of the $5.6 billion sale of NV Energy to a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a Des Moines, Iowa, subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

NV Energy is the parent company of Nevada Power Co. in Las Vegas and Sierra Pacific Power in northern Nevada. The two companies have some 1.3 million electricity and natural gas customers, including 2.4 million of the state's 2.7 million residents.

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