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PacifiCorp investing $4 billion in transmission lines

May 30, 2007 - bizjournals.com

PacifiCorp will spend more than $4 billion to build high-voltage transmission lines connecting Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and the Southwest.

The 1,200-mile network will carry 500 kilovolts of power in Wyoming connecting to 1.7 million customers in the West served by Pacific Power and its sibling, Rocky Mountain Power.

PacifiCorp operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and California, and as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.

"We are pleased to announce these projects as a clear signal to our retail customers, regulators and transmission customers that we are taking steps now to ensure our system is adequate and capable of meeting future customer load growth and regional needs," said Pat Reiten, president of Pacific Power, in a press release.

The two lines will deliver power to high-growth areas and will help existing customers in Washington, California and Oregon tap into renewable energy facilities, such as wind farms, in development in Wyoming and neighboring states.

Completion is expected in 2014.

In related news, PacifiCorp said it has an agreement with Idaho Power Co. to cooperate on a line that will connect a jointly owned power plant in Wyoming to southeastern Idaho, Utah and Oregon.

More than 600 miles of line will be capable of delivering up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity from Wyoming to Idaho and into Utah, and up to 2,500 megawatts between Idaho and Oregon.

"Idaho Power is pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Pacific Power by jointly working to develop regional-scale projects that would serve our growing customer needs," said LaMont Keen, president of Idaho Power, in a joint press release.

Another major line will carry up to 3,000 megawatts between Wyoming and central Utah's Juab County.

PacifiCorp was acquired in 2006 by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a holding of Berkshire Hathaway.

The company pledged to remain an active participant in additional regional transmission projects, including the Frontier Line and TransWest Express Line, the first projects to be built under the oversight of the Northern Tier Transmission Group.

The group is a coalition of public and private utilities, government agencies and power customers.

"Taken as a whole, all of the projects are critical to shaping and strengthening the West's transmission system and ensuring reliable, efficient, coordinated service," said John Cupparo, vice president for transmission for PacifiCorp.