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Key Oregon Permit Approved for Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line

Sept. 27, 2022
The permit, once finalized, will authorize construction of the 290-mile, 500-kilovolt line across five eastern Oregon counties.

Idaho and Oregon will soon share more safe, reliable, affordable, clean energy. Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council on Tuesday approved a site certificate for the Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) transmission line. The permit, once finalized, will authorize construction of the 290-mile, 500-kilovolt line across five eastern Oregon counties. Federal agencies have already granted permission for the line to cross land they manage.

B2H will connect a new station near Boardman, Oregon, to Idaho Power’s existing Hemingway Substation in southwest Idaho. It will provide a crucial link to move energy, much of it from hydroelectric, wind and other clean sources, between the Pacific Northwest, where energy use peaks in the winter, and the Intermountain West, where energy use peaks in the summer.

Existing connections between the two regions are full — they can’t carry any more power during peak periods. Industry experts, environmental groups and government agencies agree that building more high-voltage transmission lines is crucial to incorporating a growing amount of clean energy on the grid. B2H will help Idaho Power pursue its goal of providing 100% clean energy by 2045. It will also support the clean energy goals of other energy providers in the West.

“It would be hard to overstate the importance of this project, not just for Idaho Power customers, but for homes, businesses and farms all across the western U.S.,” said Lindsay Barretto, Idaho Power’s 500-kilovolt and Joint Projects Senior Manager. “More and more energy from wind, solar and other sources is coming online. Better transmission connections to surrounding regions will help incorporate this clean energy while enhancing grid reliability and keeping customer prices affordable.”

B2H’s site certificate follows a multi-year process in which residents, tribes, local governments, the federal government, interest groups and other stakeholders provided input on the project.

“We’re extremely grateful to all the people — many of them unpaid representatives of their communities — who spent so many hours analyzing this project, communicating with us and testifying in public meetings,” Barretto said. “The result is a better project that balances the need for reliable, affordable, clean energy in the West with the values of communities near the transmission line.”

Idaho Power and Portland-based PacifiCorp plan to own B2H jointly. Bonneville Power Administration participated in the project’s permitting. Construction of B2H is expected to start in 2023, with the project coming online in 2026. For additional information, visit idahopower.com/b2h.

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