BPA, PGE outline terms and conditions for joint development of Cascade Crossing

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Portland General Electric (PGE) (NYSE:POR) have identified the terms and conditions both sides will address in connection with their discussions concerning the joint development of PGE’s proposed Cascade Crossing Transmission Project.

The terms and conditions, signed by the two parties in December 2011, and released Jan. 12, include 11 “issues of common interest” and specific areas to be studied, including a broad range of technical studies, economic considerations and other work necessary for the parties to further evaluate the project and their scope of participation.

The terms and conditions also call for the development of a joint transmission planning and development agreement by April 1 and an operating agreement for the West of Cascades South path by Sept. 1.

The initial memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the project was signed by the two parties in January 2011. “Now, we’ve moved to the stage of identifying the issues and studies that we’ll need to look at to further consider participation in the line,” a BPA spokesperson told TransmissionHub Jan. 17.

Where the parties will come out is still an open question, however.

“The studies need to be done and we’ll need to look at what we find,” the spokesperson said. “Ultimately, we’ll make the determination if we’ll continue to consider participation in the line and what benefits there may be for us and for our customers.”

The goal of the proposed 500-kV project, which would run from Boardman, Ore., to the Salem, Ore., area, is to “strengthen the integrity of the grid – removing constraints, adding capacity and improving reliability for the next 60+ years,” according to the terms and conditions document.

In addition to enhancing the reliability of the electric grid, the project would allow for the development of more renewable power projects to help meet the state’s renewable portfolio standard, according to the companies.

The project would connect new and existing energy generating resources east of the Cascades to the Willamette Valley.

PGE has submitted a notice of intent to apply for an energy facility site certificate from the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council and has applied to the federal government for right-of-way grants and special-use authorization to cross federally managed lands.

PGE is in the second year of what is expected to be a more than three-year permitting process, which includes a variety of opportunities for public input.

In order to build the project, PGE must obtain approvals from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, as well as from state and federal governments.