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Western Proposes Transmission Program, Seeks Projects

LAKEWOOD, Colo., March 6 — The publication of two Federal Register notices Wednesday, Mar. 4, marked an important milestone toward promoting construction of additional transmission to move renewable energy across the grid in the West under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

With the publication of a Request for Interest, Western Area Power Administration is seeking interest in potential projects that can be funded using the Recovery Act authority to borrow up to $3.25 billion from the U.S. Treasury. These projects will provide Federal funding in partnerships to develop transmission infrastructure that delivers renewable energy to market across the West. At the same time, through the second notice, Western initiates a public process to develop practices and policies that implement this new authority.

“We're looking for projects and partners capable of injecting dollars into the economy to get lines in the air to help meet the immediate demand for transmission infrastructure and create “green” jobs,” said Western's Administrator Tim Meeks. “Western contracts 100 percent of the construction and much of the environmental analysis for transmission projects. There will be a need for electrical engineers, environmental specialists and construction contractors—people in real jobs, doing real work, to deliver on the promise of energy independence and bring renewable energy to the market.”

The full Request for Interest, along with submission requirements for the RFI, is available on Western's Web site. Questions regarding the RFI can be submitted by e-mail at txrfi@wapa.gov. Answers will be posted on Western's Web site to make them available to all interested parties. Western should receive statements of interest by April 3, 2009.

Western is also proposing to adopt a Transmission Infrastructure Program, with a number of key principles to guide the selection of projects approved for funding. Projects would be in the public interest, not adversely impact system reliability and offer reasonable expectations that proceeds from the project will be adequate to meet Western's repayment obligations. Projects would encourage non-Federal participation to leverage Western's borrowing authority and create additional job opportunities.

Meeks added, “We are initiating the important work of developing the principles and guidance that will allow our Transmission Infrastructure Program to move forward under an ambitious and compressed schedule to execute contracts as soon as possible.”

For repayment purposes, each transmission line and related facility project would be treated as a distinct project to protect the rights of existing Reclamation and Corps of Engineers projects and customers. Revenues from each project would be the only source of repayment of the associated loan for that project and expenses for ancillary services, and operation and maintenance.

Western will host a public meeting to explain the proposed program and accept oral and written comments on March 23, 2009, at 1 p.m. at Western's Corporate Services Office, 12155 West Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, CO 80228. Participants may also join the meeting via Webcast. Western will accept written comments any time during the consultation and comment period which closes April 3, 2009.

About WPA

Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 10,000 megawatts of clean, renewable power from hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Learn more

Contact:

Western

P.O. Box 281213

Lakewood , CO 80228-2802

Phone: 720-962-7050

Toll Free: 1-800-982-4523

Fax: 720-962-7059

E-mail: CorpComm@wapa.gov

Web site: www.wapa.gov

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