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Portland, Ore.-based utility, PacifiCorp's application to add to its Idaho certificate in order to build a transmission line to send power from remote wind sites in Wyoming and Idaho to urban load centers has been approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

The 345 kV transmission line will extend from an existing substation southwest of the Salt Lake City airport north to a new substation at Downey. In Idaho, the line extends through Bannock and Oneida counties.

Cost of the project is $750 million, but only about 3% of that is allocated to Idaho customers in PacifiCorp's six-state territory. PacifiCorp did not request rate recovery at this time and won't do so until after the line is operational, which is anticipated for December 2010. Construction is expected to begin this month.

According to the commission, increased transmission capacity gives utilities more options to find cost-effective power supply sources, either from the utility's own generation or from generators on the wholesale market. It also improves reliability, resulting in fewer outages. This project is designed to enhance energy delivery and reliability between PacifiCorp's eastern control area (Wyoming, eastern Idaho and Utah) and its western control area (Oregon, Washington and northern California).

SOURCE: Idaho Public Utilities Commission

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