Its early yet in the process, but if a geothermal power plant goes on line in Nevada, new power transmission lines could be built through the Eastern Sierra.
Acting BLM field manager Joe Pollini explained that a company called Vulcan Power plans to build new geothermal power plants near Fernley, Nevada. In order to get their electricity to the market, the plan currently involves a 250 mile long power project that would run through parts of Nevada, through the Benton area, and then tie in to existing power lines near Bishop.
The new power lines would run parallel to power lines that already bring power through on the way to southern California from the Pacific Nortwest. Pollini explained that the newly proposed lines would run in an existing corridor already staked out for the power lines that cross through the Benton area and cross the Tablelands north of Bishop.
With a long project through lands managed by many agencies, Pollini says that the proposed project will take a lot of coordination. One issue that may come up is the wilderness study areas on the Tablelands. Power lines already thread through the wilderness study areas there, but there may not be enough room to build the new lines on the Tablelands.
The project is still in the proposal stage. Pollini said that the official public process is not expected to get started until next year.