by Mitch Colburn
While project news has been fairly quiet of late, we expect more news soon on the Gateway West Transmission Line Project.
Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power are proposing to build the project, which includes approximately 1,000 miles of 230-kilovolt (kV) and 500-kV electric transmission lines between the Windstar substation near Glenrock, WY, and our Hemingway substation near Melba, ID.
We’re building this new transmission line to provide electricity for increasing customer needs, to enhance the regional grid and to support economic development in southern Idaho. It will deliver power from existing and future electric resources including renewable resources like wind energy. In addition, the line will improve the reliability of the region’s transmission system.
More specifically, a large amount of Idaho Power’s electricity moves between southeastern Idaho and southwestern Idaho on existing transmission lines between the Portneuf, Magic, and Treasure valleys. These lines are heavily utilized. Idaho Power’s need for the Gateway West project is to provide more capacity for moving electricity across southern Idaho, primarily from east to west.
With more capacity, Idaho Power will be able to serve future customer load growth, whether it’s commercial, industrial, residential or agricultural. The project brings a lot of benefits to Idaho residents, from local tax payments in the counties to reliable electric service. Gateway West is also seen as a tool to help alleviate a future of uncertainty with respect to where and what kind of generation Idaho Power will need to supply low-cost and reliable electric service to its customers.
Idaho Power looks forward to the release of the supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS). Once it is released by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power will review it and prepare joint comments for BLM to consider in making its final decision.
The companies were not involved in the development of the SDEIS and are receiving information on routes at the same time as the public. We appreciate your patience as we go through the document and determine how it will affect the Gateway West project.
Mitch Colburn is the leader of Idaho Power’s 500-kV projects group.
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