The Nevada Supreme Court has given Sierra Pacific Power permission to go forward with design and planning for a substation designed to prevent brown-outs. Construction could begin as early as next summer in the Carson City area.
The utility is moving to condemn 480 acres as a site for the Blackhawk substation project and the transmission towers it will need. The power company won permission to occupy and begin work on the property from a district court arguing work has to begin immediately "as the new plant and lines must be operating by summer of 2009 when the company anticipates that the maximum limit of the Carson area's existing electric system will be exceeded."
The court order defines the "Carson area" as including Virginia City, Mark Twain, Dayton, Carson City, Minden, Gardnerville, South Tahoe and Incline Village.
The property owners asked the Supreme Court to block the utility's access to the land arguing Sierra Pacific didn't demonstrate the public necessity for the entire 480 acres. They argued Sierra Pacific was engaging in a "land grab."
But the Supreme Court panel of justices Jim Hardesty, Parraguirre and Michael Douglas agreed with the district court that the utility had demonstrated a reasonable necessity to condemn the and said the petitioners had not supported their claims with any evidence.
The petitioners are Gold Ridge Partners, Sky View Partners, Grand View Partners and Rolling Hills Partners, all California businesses.
The ruling means Sierra Pacific can proceed with pre-construction and design work on the property. Utility officials say construction must begin by September in order to have the substation on line by next summer.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.