U.S. approves major transmission line from Wyoming to Utah

High voltage transmission lines. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

May 26 (Reuters) - The Biden administration on Thursday gave final approval to a 416-mile electric transmission line that will help connect more wind and solar energy to the Western U.S. grid.

The move allows PacifiCorp, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), to start building the line, which will run from Southwest Wyoming through Colorado to central Utah.

The project's approval is part of the Biden administration's effort to speed permitting of clean energy projects on public lands to both create jobs and tackle climate change.

America's antiquated network of transmission wires and the bureaucratic difficulty of permitting massive modern projects is widely regarded as a barrier to the expansion of renewable energy sources that must be connected to population centers, sometimes over long distances.

"Approving large-scale transmission projects like this are key to bringing renewable energy online," Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a statement.

The Gateway South project is part of PacifiCorp's larger plan to add 2,000 miles of new transmission in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah to improve reliability and allow access to low-cost renewable energy resources.

The utility plans to add thousands of megawatts of wind and solar energy over the next two decades while retiring most of its 22 coal plants. The company has pledged to lower carbon emissions by 74% from 2005 levels by 2030.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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