BLM mulls new path for Gateway West transmission project
- The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is reconsidering the decision to approve a right-of-way application for two segments of the Gateway West 500-kV transmission line, and will take comments until Sept. 27 on how the route might be altered.
- The Salt Lake Tribune reports the changes are due to legislation backed by Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson that removed tracts from a conservation area in order to better accommodate the route. The law was signed by President Trump, and now changes to line segments must be made in order to connect with the altered route.
- Gateway West is being developed by Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power, and will run about 1,000 miles between the Windstar substation near Glenrock, Wyo., and the Hemingway substation near Melba, Idaho.
A final route for Gateway West is still being devised, and new spurs are certain to anger environmentalists. In May, President Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law. It included an agreement to route segments 8 and 9 of Gateway West through the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.
According to the Tribune, the law removed 2,800 acres from the conservation area in order to accommodate the route.
Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power believe line segments will be completed in phases between 2019 and 2024. The project includes approximately 150 miles of 230 kV lines in Wyoming and approximately 850 miles of 500 kV lines in Wyoming and Idaho.
Developers of the project explain the existing transmission grid across the West is "aging and increasingly operating at its full capacity during peak periods." The Gateway West line would "enhance reliability and deliver electricity from existing and new generating resources, including renewables such as wind."
PacifiCorp announced plans to construct a portion of the Gateway West Transmission Line in Wyoming as part of its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan. The company will initiate state and local permitting and right of way acquisition for 140 miles of 500 kV transmission line between the planned Aeolus substation near Medicine Bow, Wyo., and the Jim Bridger power plant near Point of Rocks, Wyo.
- The Salt Lake Tribune New path sought for high-voltage transmission lines in Idaho
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