The Bonneville Power Administration and Lower Valley Energy recently took a new collaborative approach to building a 24-mile transmission line in southeastern Idaho. The line, called Hooper Springs, was needed to address reliability concerns and keep the power flowing in an area where winter temperatures often drop below zero.
After years of planning, environmental analysis and negotiations with landowners to secure land rights, BPA was poised to begin construction in 2017 – until LVE approached BPA with a unique proposal. LVE asked to build the line itself, using easements BPA had already acquired.
The approach took advantage of the utility’s local expertise to build the project more efficiently. By letting LVE construct and own the line, BPA avoided drawing on its limited U.S. Treasury borrowing authority, preserving that funding for other needed projects. LVE, which is leasing transmission capacity back to BPA, is responsible for the ongoing maintenance costs of the project.
Hooper Springs is an example of BPA’s efforts to meet transmission customer needs more efficiently and responsively as outlined in the BPA 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.