Idaho Power: BLM anticipates releasing ROD for two segments of Gateway West project in December

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) anticipates releasing the record of decision (ROD) for segments 8 and 9 of the Gateway West Transmission Line Project in December, IDACORP‘s (NYSE:IDA) Idaho Power said in an Oct. 25 3Q16 Transmission Updates report filed with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon.

As noted on the project’s website, the project is jointly proposed by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp and part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, to build and operate about 1,000 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines between the Windstar substation near Glenrock, Wyo., and the Hemingway substation near Melba, Idaho. The project would include about 150 miles of 230-kV lines in Wyoming, and about 850 miles of 500-kV lines in Wyoming and Idaho, the website noted.

The new transmission line, which is being built to provide electricity to meet increasing customer needs, would deliver power from existing and future electric resources, including renewable resources, according to the website.

As noted in the Oct. 25 report, segment 8 of the project is located between the Midpoint substation and the Hemingway substation, while segment 9 is located between the proposed Cedar Hill substation and Hemingway substation.

Those segments were not covered by the previous ROD issued in November 2013, Idaho Power said, adding, “Because of their importance to the Gateway West project and to Idaho Power’s interest in the project, no additional permitting (state or local), regulatory activities, or other events are currently being pursued by Idaho Power until the BLM provides its ROD on these two sub-segments.”

The company noted that the Interior Board of Land Appeals in September affirmed the BLM’s 2013 ROD, which was challenged by certain third parties, including:

  • Wyoming Coalition of Local Governments (Lincoln County) – specific to segment 4 near Cokeville, Wyo.
  • Reed Land and Cattle Company (private property) – Wyoming segment 4
  • Western Watersheds Project – ROD, environmental impact statement (EIS), mitigation plan and other components – pushing for removal of grazing rights on BLM within sage-grouse habitat

The company also said that the BLM on Oct. 7 released the final supplemental EIS for segments 8 and 9 in southwestern Idaho, which analyzed seven pairs of possible route combinations for those segments, identifying two co-preferred alternatives. In the final supplemental EIS, the BLM selected Alternative 5, which is different from the routes proposed by the companies and the Boise District Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) subcommittee, the company said.

The RAC subcommittee convened in December 2013, to look at route options for segments 8 and 9 due to concerns about potential impacts within the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area and adjacent private lands, Idaho Power said.

The companies subsequently adopted the RAC’s recommended routes for both segments, the company said, adding that Alternative 5 has a combined length of 321.5 miles, which is the highest total length among the seven alternatives. That alternative would require the removal of existing transmission line along 1.9 miles of the route. The two routes would follow the same alignment, 250 feet apart, for about 9.9 miles within the Snake River Birds of Prey, Idaho Power added, noting that this alternative incorporates route options that would result in segments 8 and 9 paralleling each other for portions of their lengths.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3059 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 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.