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Plan dropped for transmission line

PORTLAND (AP) — Plans for a $700 million high-voltage electrical transmission line between Oregon and Washington state have been canceled after the cost doubled over the last eight years, The Bonneville Power Administration said Thursday.

The 80-mile (130-kilometer), 500-kilovolt line proposed in 2009 would have run from Castle Rock, Washington, to Troutdale, Oregon.

The power administration originally said the transmission line was necessary to help meet growing demand for power in the Pacific Northwest.

The "scope, impact and increasing budget" of the project led officials to reconsider it and cancel it, said Elliot Mainzer, administrator of the federal government agency that markets hydroelectricity from a system of 31 federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, and one nuclear plant in Washington state.

The agency will upgrade existing infrastructure and develop better ways of monitoring and managing congestion during peak periods of electricity use, Mainzer said.

"We are now confident that we can continue to meet the demands on the grid without building this 80-mile line in southwest Washington," he said.

Property owners along the proposed route opposed the transmission line, citing concern for their health and the value of their investments.

The decision to reverse course on the "transmission line that would have bisected our communities is somewhat unprecedented," said U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents southwest Washington.

"It should serve as a model for other public entities who need to be willing to constantly reassess their decisions to make sure the community is at the center of them."

The agency is headquartered in Portland. The electricity it markets represents about a third of the power supplied in the U.S. Northwest.

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