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PGE floats new plan for adding transmission capacity


By MITCH LIES



Capital Press



Farmers and other landowners in the path of a proposed Portland General Electric transmission line may have received a reprieve in the form of an agreement between the utility and the Bonneville Power Administration.



PGE announced recently it has signed a memorandum of understanding with BPA to pursue a modification to its proposed Cascade Crossing Transmission Project.



The modification includes using BPA's existing transmission system to bring power from Central Oregon to the western part of the state.



The Oregon Public Utilities Commission in 2004 directed PGE to work with BPA and others to develop additional transmission capacity over the Cascade Mountain Range to Western Oregon.



PGE originally proposed building a new transmission line from Boardman to a site east of Salem. The route crossed the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, national forest lands and private lands.



Several landowners objected to the plan.



Under the modified proposal, PGE would continue with plans to construct a transmission line between Boardman and a new substation 18 miles southwest of Maupin, Ore. The utility would then use existing BPA lines to connect the new substation to Western Oregon.



"This will allow us to achieve the goals for additional transmission into Western Oregon, but at reduced impacts on the environment," said Steve Corson, spokesman for PGE.



Corson said the new proposal "is being viewed positively by many different stakeholders."



Several steps need to occur before the proposal could be finalized, Corson said, including agreements between PGE and BPA on what investments are needed to handle the additional load and who would pay for the investments.



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