The Bonneville Power Administration is inviting public comments on its draft environmental impact statement for a proposed new 500-kilovolt transmission line running from BPA’s existing Big Eddy Substation in The Dalles to a proposed new Knight Substation about four miles northwest of Goldendale, Wash.
The high-voltage Big Eddy-Knight Project is one of four major new transmission lines that BPA has proposed funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is expected to provide up to 100 construction jobs.
The proposed Big Eddy-Knight Transmission Project would add more than 1,150 megawatts of capacity to BPA’s transmission system to accommodate increasing amounts of renewable energy from wind while updating the Northwest power grid.
"Infrastructure such as this is vital to regional and national efforts to deliver renewable energy and enhance our energy independence,” said Larry Bekkedahl, vice president of Engineering and Technical Services. “The jobs associated with the project would also be a welcome boost to local and regional economies."
Since BPA announced its intent in June 2009 to move forward with an environmental review for this project, the agency has surveyed potential impacts and collected comments from landowners and other stakeholders in the area. The draft EIS assesses the environmental impacts of three alternative transmission line routes about 28 miles long, two substation site options and two fiber-optic cable options. It also outlines mitigation measures that would minimize the project's potential impacts.
BPA is accepting public comments on the draft EIS until Jan. 28, and will hold two open-house style public meetings to answer questions on Jan. 11 in The Dalles, Ore., and on Jan. 12 in Goldendale, Wash.
All public comments will be considered as BPA refines its environmental analysis. The agency will also continue to work with the Washington Energy Facility Siting Council and the Oregon Department of Energy, as well as with other federal, state, regional, and local agencies, tribes, landowners and interest groups.
The agency expects to complete and publish the final EIS early this summer and then issue a record of decision in late summer 2011 that will explain BPA’s decision about whether to build the project.