The first eight-mile branch of a 35-mile long transmission project that is set to hook into numerous geothermal projects in the Salton Sea region got the green light from the Imperial Irrigation District February 20. IID unanimously approved construction of the first phase of a four-part Green Path Transmission Project anticipated to be completed in 2011. The project ultimately may connect in the north to Los Angeles Department of Water & Power\u2019s high voltage line and to the Southwest with San Diego Gas & Electric\u2019s Sunrise Powerlink project, which is pending California Public Utilities Commission approval. \u201cThe Imperial Valley is poised to be a world leader in renewable energy generation. This new industry will create high-paying jobs in our region and infuse our local economy with millions of dollars,\u201d stated IID energy assistant manager Juan Carlos Sandoval. There is an estimated 40,000 MW of potential geothermal energy capacity near the Salton Sea. IID\u2019s Green Path project is estimated to cost $74 million. The District this week approved spending $14.3 million for building a section of the new high voltage line that will run from Midway to Bannister. It also signed off on spending another $4.5 million to purchase needed rights of way to allow the remaining 27 miles of the project to go forward. Whether the Green Path project, which will consist of new lines and system upgrades, connects to the Powerlink project depends upon the route the CPUC approves.