BPA proposes new 500-kV line between Oregon, Washington

The Bonneville Power Administration is proposing to build a new 28-mile, 500-kV transmission line that will run from Wasco County, Ore., to Klickitat County, Wash.

According to the BPA’s record of decision, the project will connect BPA’s existing Big Eddy substation in The Dalles, Ore., to a proposed new Knight substation that will be connected to an existing BPA line about four miles northwest of Goldendale, Wash.

Construction on the Big Eddy-Knight line may begin the week of Sept. 19, BPA said Sept. 16, adding that project construction will begin after contract terms are determined and other permits and approvals are granted.

 “Upgrading BPA’s transmission system will not only create up to 100 construction jobs, it will strengthen BPA’s ability to handle further expansion of wind energy and other renewable energy projects in the region,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in the statement.

BPA said the line will help it provide transmission service for more than 4,000 MW of wind energy, noting that to date, wind generation on its system has surpassed 3,500 MW.

The first 14 miles of line will use double-circuit towers that will carry the new line and an existing BPA transmission line on mostly existing right of way. The remaining 14 miles, BPA added, will use newly acquired right of way.

This is the third major transmission project to be approved over the past two years to help utilities and others move energy where it is needed, Larry Bekkedahl, vice president of BPA transmission services engineering and technical services, said in the statement.

The decision ends a public process that started in June 2009 and incorporated comments from tribes, as well as landowners, local state and federal government agencies, among others. The process led to an environmental impact statement outlining steps that will help BPA minimize the line and substation impacts on land use, wildlife, vegetation, scenery and other resources.

BPA also said the U.S. Forest Service will conduct a consistency review of the project within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2843 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.