BPA announces a better solution for I-5 corridor congestion

bpa logoSeattle, Wa. —  The NW Energy Coalition applauds today’s announcement by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) that it will not move forward with construction of a proposed 80-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line between Castle Rock, Washington and Troutdale Oregon. 

The I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project was originally proposed in 2008 as a means of addressing growing demand for electricity in the Portland-Vancouver metro area. But, after the release of the project’s final environmental impact statement in February 2016 and extensive financial analysis that included input from regional utilities and independent energy experts, BPA determined that it could more effectively meet the need by investing in upgrades to existing transmission infrastructure, employing demand response techniques that increase energy efficiency and shift load, and updating commercial transmission practices.

“We applaud Bonneville for going in a better direction,” said Fred Heutte, senior policy associate for the NW Energy Coalition.  “This is a victory for smarter planning and regional cooperation.”

“After looking carefully at all the options, it turns out that a combination of methods relying on clean energy and optimizing power plant generation is a better and less costly choice.  The new power line would have cost over a billion dollars, putting a major burden on communities and property owners in southwest Washington and electric bill payers across the Northwest.”

“By taking leadership along with our area electric utilities and industries, Bonneville is taking a major step toward a more reliable, clean and affordable electric power system.”

BPA spokesman Kevin Wingert said the decision reflects the agency’s commitment to taking a more flexible, scalable, and economically and operationally efficient approach to managing its transmission system.

Wingert also said that BPA will shortly convene a technical conference with customers to discuss the new approach to managing congestion on the transmission grid.

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