Transmission Line Among First
by Tom Banse
A new high-voltage transmission line along the Columbia River has gotten the green light just days after the president signed the economic stimulus package. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.
The new electric line will straddle the Washington-Oregon border for 79-miles between McNary and John Day Dams on the mid-Columbia.
The Bonneville Power Administration says construction will create about 700 jobs at its peak.
BPA spokesman Doug Johnson says wind farms sprouting across the inland Northwest need more transmission capacity to serve customers west of the Cascades.
Doug Johnson: "There is a lot of congestion on our system. What we were finding was we had to find a way to expand our system so that congestion would be taken care of."
This is the first of four transmission expansions BPA wants to buy with a $3.25 billion loan from the U.S. Treasury. The money was tucked in the federal stimulus package.
The first project can start quickly because it runs mostly within existing rights of way. The follow-on projects in the Columbia Gorge, southwest Washington, and along the lower Snake River are several years down the road.
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