GENERAL PROJECT FAQs
  • What is the Gateway West Transmission Line Project?
  • This project is jointly proposed by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power to build and operate approximately 1,000 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines between the Windstar Substation near Glenrock, Wyoming and the Hemingway Substation near Melba, Idaho. The project would include approximately 150 miles of 230 kilovolt (kV) lines in Wyoming and approximately 850 miles of 500 kV lines in Wyoming and Idaho.

    Learn more about the project.

  • Why is this project needed?
  • The new Gateway West transmission line will provide electricity for the growing needs of Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power customers and increase the reliability of the region’s electrical system.

    As regulated energy providers, both companies have an obligation to plan and construct transmission facilities to ensure reliable electric service to our customers. In order to access new energy resources and to serve growing demand, increased transmission capacity is needed to transport power across Wyoming, southern Idaho and Oregon.

    It takes years to develop, site and construct new transmission facilities so it is critical Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power plan ahead and act to address forecasted need in order to ensure a reliable system for the public.

  • Have Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power partnered like this before? What are the benefits?
  • Yes, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power have a long-standing relationship as joint owners of the Jim Bridger power plant in Wyoming. Both companies are pleased to continue working together to develop regional-scale projects that will serve growing customer needs. This project is an important part of the critical need to shape and strengthen the West’s transmission system and ensure reliable, efficient, coordinated electrical service and integrate new and renewable energy sources.
  • What are Idaho Power and/or Rocky Mountain Power doing to conserve energy instead of just providing additional energy?
  • Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power are actively pursuing all cost-effective energy efficiency and demand response programs to help customers manage their energy use and demand. These programs benefit residential, agricultural and commercial/industrial customers.

    Idaho Power’s programs include: A/C Cool Credit, Weatherization for Qualified Customers, Energy Star Homes Northwest, Energy Star Lighting, Home Products program, Heating and Cooling Efficiency, Rebate Advantage, Energy House Calls, Building Efficiency, Easy Upgrades, Custom Efficiency, Irrigation Efficiency Rewards and Irrigation Peak Rewards. For more information, please visit Idaho Power’s program page.

    Rocky Mountain Power’s programs vary state by state and include: Home Energy Analysis, Home Energy Savings, Cool Cash Incentive, Online Energy Analysis, Mail-in Energy Analysis, Power Forward, ENERGY Star Residential New Homes, Cool Keeper load control program, See ya later refrigerator recycling and Low Income Weatherization. For more information, please visit Rocky Mountain Power’s program page.

  • Do Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power have to answer to some authority for reliability?
  • Yes, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power voluntarily comply with reliability standards put forth by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) and, by signatory agreement, concede to the WECC the ability to impose financial penalties for reliability violations.

    Both companies must periodically submit reports on varying reliability topics to both the WECC and the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). WECC and NERC will also periodically verify that each company is operating by the in-place reliability standards. If either company is found to be out of compliance with reliability standards, WECC can impose monetary penalties.

    Additionally, each company is under the oversight authority of state public utilities commissions which can force Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power to improve its system if reliability degrades enough.

  • How will this project impact rates?
  • Typically, investment in additional transmission facilities and their associated operating expenses would be included in future rates at the time the facilities are used to provide service. Transmission investments are reviewed by regulatory commissions prior to inclusion in rates. It is too soon to tell the ultimate rate impact of this project to specific customers. This is why investment will be made only to the level and extent that truly benefits our existing and projected retail customers.
  • Where is the power supply coming from?
  • The electricity that will be transported over the new transmission lines will come from a variety of existing and future sources including coal, hydroelectric, geothermal, natural gas and wind resources in Wyoming and Idaho.

    The new line would move power throughout the region; there isn’t one particular power supply point. Depending upon the time of year, utilities will import power from other parts of the region to serve customers and at other times, when there is excess power, utilities will export it. In this way, all power utilities are interconnected and have the ability to move power where it is needed most. This allows customers throughout the west to benefit from low-cost generation resources.
  • Will new transmission lines result in additional energy generation facilities?
  • The proposed transmission line would increase regional transmission transport capacity. This project does not propose to build any new energy generation facilities. It is focused on transmitting electricity between generating sources and delivery points to maintain service reliability throughout the region. The added capacity provided by the Gateway West Transmission Line Project would help relieve existing transmission congestion and might stimulate interest in siting power generation facilities that were previously deterred as a result of the congestion.
  • What is the status of segments 8 and 9?
  • The BLM released its Record of Decision (ROD) on November 14, 2013, for segments 1 through 7 (Windstar to Populus, Populus to Midpoint and Populus to Cedar Hill) and segment 10 (Midpoint to Cedar Hill) of the project. It identifies the BLM authorized route on public land. The BLM postponed a decision on segments 8 (Midpoint to Hemingway) and 9 (Cedar Hill to Hemingway) to resolve routing in this area.

    Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power submitted a revised application for segments 8 and 9 in August 2014. The BLM determined that new information included in this application would require additional analysis to supplement the analysis in the 2013 final EIS for the original, 10-segment project. Scoping on these segments was completed in fall 2014, and a draft supplemental EIS for segments 8 and 9 was released March 11, 2016. The final supplemental EIS was published October 7, 2016. The BLM released its initial ROD for segments 8 and 9 on January 19, 2017. On April 17, 2017, the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) remanded the January ROD back to the BLM Idaho State Office for reconsideration of the route alternatives. The BLM will complete an environmental assessment (EA) to reconsider the January 2017 decision. A 30-day scoping period for the EA began on August 28, 2017. The BLM published a draft EA for segments 8 and 9 on November 3, 2017, beginning a 30-day public comment period. For more information on the EA process, visit the BLM project website.

    Learn more about the project.