The high concentration of industrial, commercial and residential electricity use in Portland, Vancouver, Longview and surrounding suburban cities and towns is creating greater demand for electricity. BPA has taken innovative steps to keep pace with that growth without building new power lines, but the system is becoming increasingly stretched, and adequate electricity is essential to enabling economic growth and reliability.
“BPA and the region have used aggressive conservation measures and technical solutions to extend the use of the existing transmission system to meet growing energy needs,” said Brian Silverstein, BPA senior vice president of Transmission Services. “Now that we’ve used up that margin, it’s time to consider reinforcement activities.”
BPA is starting preparation of an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act to aid in making a decision on whether to build a new line and to review potential environmental impacts associated with various possible route options. BPA will hold a series of public meetings this fall to take comments and answer questions about the project and the EIS process. The EIS process is expected to take about two and one-half years.
“We take our charge as responsible stewards of the environment very seriously,” said Greg Delwiche, BPA vice president for Environment, Fish and Wildlife. “An important part of that is interacting with the public to learn more about their transmission line siting concerns and to provide them with information to help them understand the rationale for the proposed line and the siting options.”
Individuals who cannot attend the meetings can learn about the proposed transmission line at www.bpa.gov/go/i5.
BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities. BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 2,200 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system.