Photo by Fotis Mavroudakis, Dreamstime
Fotis Mavroudakis Dreamstime

Idaho Power, PacifiCorp, BPA Amend Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Plan

Jan. 20, 2022
Agreement advances a component of the region’s transmission system.

Idaho Power, PacifiCorp and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) have reached a non-binding agreement that would help meet growing customer demand, improve safety and reliability, and reinforce the Pacific Northwest transmission system.

The agreement clarifies and updates roles and responsibilities for the Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) transmission line.  It would pave the way for all three organizations to deliver low-cost power to their customers and support each one’s clean energy goals.

The proposed agreement is a step forward for this 500-kilovolt, 290-mile transmission line, which would deliver 1,000 MW of reliable, affordable power in each direction between the Pacific Northwest and Mountain west. B2H is anticipated to come online in 2026.

“B2H is a major piece of Idaho Power’s long-term plan to meet customer needs,” said Mitch Colburn, Idaho Power Vice President of Planning, Engineering and Construction. “This agreement solidifies and simplifies a path forward for a project that will help us continue our century-long tradition of reliable, affordable, clean energy.”

“This project is a key element of PacifiCorp’s expansive Energy Gateway transmission plan to enable our customers and communities to grow with greater grid resilience, lower costs and provide more renewable energy supply by increasing the connectivity between PacifiCorp’s diverse Western and Eastern systems,” said Rick Link, PacifiCorp Senior Vice President, Resource Planning, Procurement, and Optimization.

 “This arrangement paves the way toward a promising and economic solution for serving all of the participants and supports efforts to meet the region’s clean energy goals,” said Kim Thompson, BPA vice president, Northwest Requirements Marketing. “B2H is an important project, and this proposal offers BPA a durable, cost-effective means of reliably delivering federal power to our southeast Idaho customers.”

Key elements of the agreement, which benefit each organization’s customers and stakeholders, are listed below:

  • Idaho Power and PacifiCorp will jointly own the B2H transmission line, with PacifiCorp owning 55% and Idaho Power owning 45%. 
  • Idaho Power will acquire an ownership interest in PacifiCorp transmission lines and other equipment between eastern Idaho and the Four Corners Substation in northwest New Mexico. B2H and those acquisitions amplify Idaho Power’s connections to key energy markets that will help the company meet rapidly growing customer demand.
  • The Bonneville Power Administration will transfer its ownership interest in B2H to Idaho Power and will not participate in construction or have any ownership interest in the transmission line project. Facilities currently used by PacifiCorp to serve BPA’s customers in and around Southeast Idaho will be transferred to Idaho Power.  BPA will acquire transmission service over Idaho Power’s transmission system, including the newly constructed B2H, to reliably and cost-effectively serve public utility customers in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. More information about BPA’s effort to serve these customers and its public process to consider the agreement is available in BPA’s letter to the region.
  • PacifiCorp will acquire Idaho Power transmission assets across southern Idaho that, combined with its majority stake in Boardman-Hemingway, will increase its contiguous power transfer capability between its Western and Eastern systems, and will acquire additional transmission service from BPA to enable it to serve its growing customer base in central Oregon.

With the non-binding term sheet developed, the three organizations will move into a negotiation phase to finalize the agreements and seek regulatory approval.  Concurrent with this press release, BPA is issuing a letter to its regional stakeholders and customers that outlines the proposal, describes the background and explains the process for engaging with BPA on this topic.  

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