Idaho Power provides update to Oregon regulators on Energy Gateway West, Boardman to Hemingway projects

Idaho Power on July 24 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon the “2nd Quarter 2017 Transmission Updates” report regarding the Energy Gateway West and Boardman to Hemingway transmission projects.

As noted in the filing, the Energy Gateway West project is being developed jointly between PacifiCorp and Idaho Power. 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, the company said, noting that those segments were not covered by the previous record of decision (ROD) that was issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in November 2013.

Because of their importance to the project and to Idaho Power’s interest in the project, no additional permitting, regulatory activities, or other events were being pursued by Idaho Power until the BLM provided its ROD on those remaining sub-segments, the company said.

The BLM in January published the ROD for segments 8 and 9 – the final two segments – and in April, per the request of Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, the BLM Washington office remanded the January Gateway West ROD for those segments back to the Idaho BLM office for further consideration.

The Idaho BLM on June 7 notified PacifiCorp and Idaho Power of its plans to comply with enacted House Resolution 2104, Idaho Power added, noting that the congressional action directs the Secretary of Interior to issue a new right of way (ROW) for only the portions of the companies’ preferred routes through the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA), not the entire routes.

BLM plans to offer an ROW grant by Aug. 3, but will need to conduct an environmental assessment to authorize the remaining portions of the preferred routes outside of the NCA, the company said. While BLM has not provided a schedule yet, BLM estimates that the process should be complete in early 2018, the company said.

A Notice of Intent was delivered on June 20 to the Assistant Secretary of Interior’s office, awaiting approval to publish in the federal register, the company said.

Regarding the Boardman to Hemingway project, Idaho Power said that the companies and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) have jointly proposed to design, build, operate, and maintain the new approximately 300-mile, 500-kV, single-circuit electric transmission line from the proposed Longhorn substation near Boardman, Ore., to the Hemingway substation near Melba, Idaho.

Idaho Power said that it is leading the permitting process for the project.

The company also noted that it is awaiting approval of the BLM’s ROD by the U.S. Department of Interior Assistant Secretary of Lands and Minerals. The ROD, which was due in March, was delayed due to Presidential and Secretarial orders revoking existing permitting requirements, the company said, adding that an ROD is now expected in the near future.

The U.S. Forest Service ROD and a Navy ROW decision will follow the BLM’s ROD, Idaho Power said, adding that it continues to coordinate with the Navy on the easement process.

For the Oregon permitting process, Idaho Power said that electronic copies of the amended application were submitted on June 29 to the Oregon Department of Energy and other reviewing agencies. Required hard copies of the approximately 17,000-page application were delivered on July 19, starting the clock on a 45-day review period, the company said, noting that all comments will be due to the department by Sept. 1.

Idaho Power noted that with more certainty around the project routes, it has begun a robust landowner outreach effort. All impacted landowners along the project route are being contacted and asked to meet in person by year-end, the company said, adding that as of the end of June, it had already met with several landowners.

Idaho Power is an IDACORP (NYSE:IDA) company.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 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.