Boardman to Hemingway, or “B2H,” is a proposed 500-kilovolt transmission line that will run approximately 290 miles across eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho. It will connect the proposed Longhorn Substation four miles east of Boardman, Oregon, to Idaho Power’s existing Hemingway Substation in Owyhee County, Idaho.
Why is it needed?
Population and business growth in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West are driving increased demand for energy. Existing transmission lines between these two regions can’t carry any more energy when it is needed most.
The Boardman to Hemingway line will deliver up to 1,000 megawatts of reliable, affordable, clean power in each direction, helping utilities meet customer demand, especially during the Pacific Northwest’s winter peak and the Mountain West’s summer peak.
B2H is a cleaner, less expensive, lower-risk solution than building new carbon-emitting plants, and it’s less expensive than building new solar or battery storage plants. It will improve reliability, reducing the likelihood and duration of outages, while helping to keep energy prices affordable.
Idaho Power is working on B2H with two other utilities, PacifiCorp and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Idaho Power is leading federal, state and local permitting efforts. PacifiCorp owns 55% of the project. According to the terms of a non-binding agreement all three utilities signed in January 2022, Idaho Power would own 45% of B2H. BPA would pay Idaho Power to deliver energy across Idaho Power equipment to BPA customers in eastern Idaho.
What’s the schedule?
Idaho Power hopes to finalize B2H permitting in 2023. We expect construction to take three to four years. The line is planned to be in service in 2026 or later.
Find answers below to frequently asked questions about B2H. If you have more questions or information you want to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transmission lines are the interstate highways of the electrical grid. They move large amounts of electricity across long distances, from the places it is generated to the communities that use it. Distribution lines are smaller power lines that deliver electricity to homes and businesses.
Idaho Power has worked closely with the public, local governments, tribes and regulators across eastern Oregon to develop a path for the line that maximizes benefits to the region and minimizes burdens. Idaho Power has changed B2H’s route in response to community input. We’ll continue working with stakeholders throughout the permitting and construction phases to minimize the line’s impacts.
See this report for more information on Idaho Power’s efforts to work with communities and stakeholders.
Yes. Benefits to cities and counties in eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho include:
Increased tax revenue. B2H’s owners will pay property taxes to each county the line crosses.
Jobs and economic development opportunities. B2H will make room for local power lines to support new energy-intensive businesses like data centers and food processing plants. B2H will also bring construction jobs and spending to eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho.
Watch this video for more details on B2H’s benefits to eastern Oregon:
Idaho Power evaluates alternatives to B2H every two years through its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP projects demand for energy over the next 20 years and analyzes ways to meet that demand. Idaho Power then uses computer modeling of these alternatives and input from a wide variety of interested groups — including irrigators, environmental groups, major customers, regulators, government agencies and the public — to determine the lowest-cost, most reliable and most desirable mix of alternatives. This mix is reviewed by regulatory agencies in Idaho and Oregon.
Since 2006, Idaho Power and its stakeholders have identified B2H as an essential resource that minimizes cost and risk. Alternatives that were considered but determined to be more costly or infeasible include:
Energy efficiency and demand response — Idaho Power operates extensive programs and will expand them as feasible. Expansion alone is unlikely to meet customers’ needs.
Additional natural gas-driven power plants — These plants would produce more carbon emissions and be more expensive for customers than B2H.
Battery storage — Using batteries to meet customer demand would be significantly more expensive for customers than B2H.
Wind or solar generation – These energy sources are a valuable part of Idaho Power’s energy mix. Building enough wind or solar capacity to meet customer needs would cost much more than B2H.
B2H will connect two regions — the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West — that produce an abundance of clean energy but whose peak production and peak customer demand are mismatched.
In the Pacific Northwest, energy demand peaks in the winter as customers use electricity to heat their homes and businesses. But the availability of clean energy produced in this region, primarily from hydroelectric plants, peaks in the spring and summer when rivers and reservoirs are full of winter snowmelt.
In the Intermountain West, electricity demand peaks in the summer when irrigation pumps and air conditioners are working overtime. Production of this region’s abundant wind energy peaks in the winter.
By connecting both regions, B2H will give customers in the Pacific Northwest access to the Intermountain West’s wind energy to meet their winter needs. Customers in the Intermountain West will benefit from the Pacific Northwest’s hydropower in the summer.
With B2H, customers in both regions will enjoy reliable, affordable, clean energy and rely less on expensive, carbon-emitting power plants.
It’s too soon to tell how B2H would affect energy rates. Typically, the money utilities spend to build and operate transmission lines are included in future rates after the new lines go into service. Regulators review these investments to ensure they benefit customers.
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