As senior vice president of BPA Transmission Services, I’d like to respond to Richard van Dijk’s June 28 letter, “Overload no longer valid argument.” A recent agreement between Bonneville Power Administration and Portland General Electric that included PGE ceasing work on its Cascade Crossing 500-kilovolt power line project does not eliminate the need for BPA’s I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project. The two projects serve different needs: One would address east-west transmission, the other north-south.
In the near term, the Cascade Crossing agreement allows BPA and PGE to use existing capacity on BPA’s transmission system to transfer energy from new and current resources on the east side of the region into the Portland-Salem area. Longer term, the agreement considers options BPA and PGE could pursue to share additional capacity through asset swaps and other measures, including new infrastructure in Eastern and Central Oregon as well as the Portland area. All of these measures are intended to help energy get from points east into the Portland-Salem area.
Simply put, when power needs to move from east to west, the possible measures in the agreement with PGE would help find a cooperative solution. When power needs to move north to south, the I-5 project is required. BPA’s system is still at risk of costly and operationally challenging congestion, as well as power outages under severe circumstances, without the I-5 project.