It was a 501-mile journey along Nevada’s first renewable energy transmission line, and the goal was to tell a unique renewable energy story. And Adam Bradley hiked the whole thing – in 16 days.
Click on the image above to take a Flash tour of the SWIP Trip. Constructed by Larry Barclay, the tour is designed to explore the cumulative impacts of renewable energy development on the landscape.
We called it “the SWIP Trip.” SWIP stands for the Southwest Intertie Project which, when construction is complete in 2012, will carry renewable energy between the Midpoint Substation in north Jerome County, Idaho and the Harry Allen Substation, just north of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada—and beyond.
Adam hiked the path of the SWIP line on foot, traveling north to south through high quality sage grouse habitat, large mammal travel corridors, canyons, valleys, along dirt roads, past ranches, and many other areas that will be changed by the construction of the line. He was aided by maps and GPS and re-supplied by the NWP “chase crew.”
The trip took place April 22 (Earth Day) through May 7, 2010. We organized the SWIP Trip because we knew that the intersection of Adam’s low-impact style of hiking with an impending renewable energy transmission line offered a unique circumstance through which to explore some of the issues and opportunities facing conservationists.
Adam shot videos of what he saw and made video diaries of his experiences. The NWP crew did the same throughout the journey, and we posted all of these essays, information, photos and videos daily on our blog. In August of 2010, KTVN Channel 2 News produced a news story about the SWIP Trip. See it here. You can find other media coverage of the SWIP trip, including stories in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Desert Companion, Grist, Takepart.com and many others, here.
NWP considers the SWIP line a “smart from the start” renewable energy project. The SWIP Trip offered us a way to paint a realistic picture of the line’s impact on the landscape, and highlight conservation opportunities accompanying the line’s construction. It will change the landscape of eastern Nevada and is considered by many to be the “backbone” of Nevada’s new clean energy economy. The SWIP Trip enabled us:
To envision the transmission line in its entirety through Adam’s extraordinary ground-level experience
See how the line will affect the natural landscape
Understand its impacts on wildlife
Investigate conservation opportunities that come with that development
Many groups and individuals supported the SWIP Trip by making a pledge per mile. Thanks to all who supported NWP and Adam Bradley on this remarkable journey. We couldn't have done it without you.
In April 2010 The Documentary Group made a 27-minute film about the SWIP Trip called Walking the Line: New Energy in the Old West. The film aired on KNPB, Reno's PBS Television station, in April 2011, and it will be featured in various locations around the country as part of the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival traveling show. You can hear Adam Bradley talk about the film in a interview conducted by the Las Vegas Nevada Public Radio KNPR 88.9
Fly the path of the SWIP transmission line here, using Google Earth.
In the Google Earth menu, click on "SWIP Tour Detail" (the camera icon)
Tips for navigating:
1. After you start the tour, place your mouse over the image so you can see the play/pause/stop bar.
2. You can fast-forward to "fly" faster along the path.
3. Some land features are labelled; sometimes you may need to pause, rewind, and hit play again to read them.
Do you have tips for us to make this a better tour? Please send them to us in an e-mail!