BPA’s Projects to Advance Transmission Reliably  and to Increase Capacity Are Moving Right Along


News Release from Bonneville Power Administration
July 12th, 2023

Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration is moving forward with more than $2 billion in multiple transmission substation and line projects necessary to reinforce the grid. These projects are intended to increase capacity and accommodate regional growth, as well as an abundance of new, clean energy resources. The projects must undergo environmental review and, if constructed, would support thousands of megawatts of renewable energy added to the power grid and help Oregon and Washington customers meet 2030 clean energy targets.

“This move demonstrates a strong commitment to our customers and advances their efforts to meet state clean energy mandates,” said John Hairston, BPA administrator and CEO. “We are setting the stage for an infrastructure decade that should significantly advance our efforts to respond to transmission interconnection and service requests and generate sufficient revenue to allow us to keep rates low.”

Six of the projects would reinforce existing major BPA transmission lines that run from east to west, allowing the flow of energy from the east side of the region to load centers such as the Puget Sound area and Portland. These projects, combined with a handful of smaller projects near Seattle and Portland, would reinforce transmission lines that deliver electricity to BPA customers who serve retail loads in those areas.

“Portland General Electric is excited to learn of BPA’s decision to accelerate work on several transmission projects critical for the region and PGE’s customers,” said Maria Pope, PGE CEO. “These transmission projects would enable the reliable delivery of new clean and affordable resources to PGE’s customers and will support economic growth.”

“The transmission investments that BPA is accelerating today are an important first step in enabling the transmission improvements we must have in place to bring clean energy resources to PSE’s customers and help meet our future requirements under the Clean Energy Transformation Act,” said Mary Kipp, president and CEO of Puget Sound Energy.

“I am proud of Bonneville Power Administration’s forward-leaning action plan to accelerate the development of new transmission in the Pacific Northwest,” said David Crane, Department of Energy under secretary for infrastructure. “This multi-project transmission upgrade program will put Bonneville, its customers across the Northwest and utility partners at the forefront of the nation’s transition to clean energy while reinforcing its historic mission of safe, affordable and resilient energy for all.”

Early estimates indicate the projects would collectively cost approximately $1.35 billion with expected energization between 2025 and 2032. If all are energized, they would provide at least 6,000 MW of additional capacity on BPA’s transmission network.

In addition, BPA is working on four projects in Central Oregon where utilities are experiencing significant growth and are attracting large commercial customers. Projects consist of one new transmission line and three substations. They are estimated to cost $839 million and could accommodate new service for incoming large customers and regional load growth while maintaining high reliability.

“Central Electric Cooperative is thrilled with BPA’s announcement to commit funding toward building a new substation in Central Oregon to help meet the rapid load growth in the area. As a BPA customer, Central Electric has worked tirelessly with BPA to help make this a reality,” said Brad Wilson, Central Electric president and CEO. “Expanding its electric and transmission infrastructure will allow for greater economic development and ensure long term electric reliability to meet our members needs.”

“Working collaboratively with our members, community leaders and area stakeholders, Umatilla Electric continues to successfully bolster economic development opportunities in Eastern Oregon,” said Robert Echenrode, general manger/CEO of Umatilla Electric Cooperative. “We appreciate BPA’s support of the continued expansion in our region and look forward to working with BPA to support these and other transmission system investments to meet our members’ future needs,”

These projects are a major part of BPA’s Evolving Grid effort that is designed to take a long view of customer and regional transmission needs over the next two decades. The list of potential projects is likely to expand when BPA finalizes the 2023 Cluster Study.

Learn more about the Evolving Grid effort and view maps of the projects in the here.

About BPA
The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale, carbon-free hydropower from 31 federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. It also markets the output of the region’s only nuclear plant. BPA delivers this power to more than 140 Northwest electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations,and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers. In all, BPA provides nearly a third of the power generated in the Northwest. To mitigate the impacts of the federal dams, BPA implements a fish and wildlife program that includes working with its partners to make the federal dams safer for fish passage. It also pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain safe, affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov 

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