Idaho Power looks forward to reaching some major milestones for the Boardman to Hemingway transmission line project in 2016.
The federal permitting process is in the home stretch, with a final Environmental Impact Statement expected from the Bureau of Land Management this year, and potentially a Record of Decision, too. Idaho Power will finalize its application for Oregon’s facility siting process after the momentous BLM events.
It has been a long, productive road to get to this point. Idaho Power’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan, a long-term resource planning study, recently reaffirmed that B2H is essential to serving future growth in customer demand. Previous IRPs also have identified the need for this transmission project, going back to the 2006 IRP.
The need for B2H is still strong.
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When finished, the project will help provide low-cost energy to Idaho Power’s customers in Southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. The project also will interconnect with existing transmission facilities owned by our project partners PacifiCorp and the Bonneville Power Administration, allowing greater amounts of electricity to move throughout the Pacific Northwest. This helps meet a regional need and provides benefits to the entire area, much of which is served, directly or indirectly, by those two providers. In addition, the project allows Idaho Power to serve its growing load without building a carbon-emitting resource.
We thank all of the communities along the B2H route for their past input and continued engagement with the project. That public involvement began in 2010 with the yearlong Community Advisory Process and continues today. The hundreds of hours spent by numerous folks, from landowners to public officials, to help find the best route for the project have been invaluable.
We look forward to continuing to work with you as permitting of B2H continues, and through the construction of this project that benefits the entire region.
Mitch Colburn is the leader of Idaho Power’s 500-kV projects group.