BPA Transmission Line Will
Construction of a 500 kV transmission line is set to start this week, according to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The new high-voltage power line will move energy from east of the Cascade Mountains to homes and businesses in population centers west of the Cascades in the northwestern U.S.
The Big Eddy-Knight line, which will help provide transmission service for more than 4 GW of wind energy, will run 28 miles from BPA's Big Eddy Substation near The Dalles, Ore., to a new substation located four miles northwest of Goldendale, Wash.
"Upgrading BPA's transmission system will not only create up to 100 construction jobs; it will strengthen BPA's ability to handle further expansion of wind energy and other renewable energy projects in the region," says Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
The first 14 miles of the line will use double-circuit towers that will carry the new line and an existing BPA transmission line on mostly existing rights of way. The remaining 14 miles of the line will use a newly acquired right of way. BPA will also build a new substation about four miles northwest of Goldendale.
BPA anticipates the lead construction contractor will hire electricians, carpenters, welders, line crews and other skilled trades people from The Dalles and other communities in Oregon and Washington. The project is expected to cost approximately $185 million and is financed, in part, with borrowing authority included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The decision culminates a public process that began in June 2009 and incorporated hundreds of comments from tribes, landowners, concerned citizens, interest groups, and local, state and federal government agencies. BPA's decision for the project is described in a record of decision, which has been distributed to stakeholders and posted at BPA's website.
Now that BPA has completed the record of decision, the U.S. Forest Service will conduct a consistency review of the project within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Project construction will begin after contract terms are determined and other permits and approvals are granted.
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