BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $12 million to the Western Governors' Association to plan for new electricity transmission lines.
As the West's population grows and electricity demand increases, companies and government agencies are poised to sink billions of dollars into power lines that would crisscross the region.
But it's been a challenge to find the best routes and balance their construction against potential environmental harm.
The $12 million in federal funds announced Friday will be used to identify areas with potential for large-scale development of renewable resources. States will also receive money to determine which transmission routes could interfere with wildlife habitat and migration corridors.
Linda Davis with the Western Governors' Association says the group hopes to narrow down possible routes by mid-2011.
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