News | January 5, 2005

Key Power Line In Southwest Washington Strengthened

ABERDEEN, Wash. - The Bonneville Power Administration has replaced one of the region's oldest power lines between Raymond and Cosmopolis with new, state-of-the-art equipment. The 18-mile long, 115-kilovolt line will greatly improve reliability for utility customers in southwest Washington, BPA officials say.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2005, at 10 a.m. at the Raymond Substation, 9796 US-101, Raymond, WA 98577. Wright and local utility and government officials will attend.

The old facilities were built in the 1930s and acquired by BPA in the 1940s. Steve Wright, BPA administrator, said the area served by the original transmission line has experienced more than 100 unplanned outages in the past 12 years. Falling trees, erosion and normal deterioration had weakened the old structures beyond repair, he said.

"This is one of many areas of the region benefiting from BPA's increased capital investments in our system," Wright said. "Improved reliability benefits existing customers and creates opportunities for our economy to grow."

More than two decades have passed since the last major upgrades, so the region's transmission grid needs improvements to meet existing demand and future growth. The work is made possible by increased authority to borrow money from the U.S. Treasury approved by Congress in 2003. BPA's debt management program – the refinancing of higher cost bonds at lower interest rates – has also increased BPA's access to capital for such projects, Wright explained.

The new line, which went into service on Nov. 2, 2004, consists of 168 steel lattice towers, most of which sit within the existing transmission right-of-way. Some were moved out of wetlands or away from Highway 101, which parallels the line. The project cost $11.2 million and was completed on time and on budget.

BPA owns and operates 75 percent of the high-voltage transmission grid in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Wright said it is one of the most reliable systems in the world, providing high quality power for Northwest homes and industries. Maintaining this infrastructure is important to the Northwest's economy and quality of life, he said.

Source: BPA