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BPA Cancels Controversial Transmission Line In SW Washington


A controversial high-voltage transmission line running from East Multnomah County to Southwest Washington has been canceled.

The Bonneville Power Administration said Thursday that it will not build the “I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project.”

The project was under consideration for nine years. It would have run 80 miles from Troutdale, Oregon, to Castle Rock, Washington.

Construction of the $722 million voltage line and towers would have affected about 300 homeowners and property owners along the preferred route.

BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer says the project was canceled after his agency determined that the region’s electricity demands can be met without adding the new transmission line to the region’s energy grid. The BPA has decided that instead of building the Northwest power grid’s first new transmission line in 40 years, it can address electricity congestion along the Interstate 5 corridor with what it called in a press release a “more innovative, flexible approach.”

“We are now confident that we can continue to meet the demands on the grid without building this 80-mile line in southwest Washington,” Mainzer said in the press release.

The BPA also released comments from others supporting the decision, including from U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, whose Southwest Washington congressional district would have been impacted by the project.

“Frankly, BPA’s willingness to reverse course on the planned 500-kilovolt lattice-steel-tower transmission line that would have bisected our communities is somewhat unprecedented. It should serve as a model for other public entities,” she said.

The Seattle-based NW Energy Coalition also voiced support for the decision against building the project and instead putting money into upgrades to existing transmission infrastructure, increased energy efficiency through “demand response techniques,” and other measures.

“After looking carefully at all the options, it turns out that a combination of methods relying on clean energy and optimizing power plant generation is a better and less costly choice,” the group said in a statement. NW Energy Coalition is an alliance of environmental, civic and human services groups and other organizations in the Northwest, British Columbia and Montana.

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