Portland General Electric has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bonneville Power Administration that allows the two utilities to coordinate planning of new electrical substations and transmission facilities and to consider joint development.

PGE has proposed Cascade Crossing, a double-circuit transmission project running from the City of Boardman to the Salem area, to help meet Oregon’s growing energy needs, enhance reliability of the electrical grid, and allow for development of more renewable power projects to help meet the state’s Renewable Energy Standard. The project would connect new and existing energy generating resources east of the Cascades to the Willamette Valley.

BPA is building the McNary-John Day transmission project, which will be completed in January, 2012. BPA is conducting environmental analysis on three proposed 500-kV transmission lines. In addition, BPA is developing several large electrical substations to integrate wind generation into the Northwest grid.

The MOU allows PGE and BPA to share confidential information as they work together on a range of issues, including system interconnections, substation locations and utilization of existing transmission corridors.

“BPA is the Northwest’s largest transmission provider, and PGE shares their commitment to promoting system reliability, cost-effective transmission and renewable resource integration,” said Steve Hawke, PGE senior vice president for customer service, transmission and distribution. “We look forward to engaging in discussions with BPA to help ensure that Cascade Crossing, if constructed, would integrate with other existing and proposed transmission projects and meet the needs of our customers and the region.”

“This is a great example of regional transmission planning and coordination,” said Brian Silverstein, BPA Transmission Services senior vice president. “Finding ways to work together to meet the region’s growing electricity needs will provide benefits to ratepayers throughout the Northwest and minimize the need for new transmission facilities.”

PGE previously executed MOUs for discussions surrounding Cascade Crossing with PacifiCorp, Idaho Power and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. In order to build the project, PGE must obtain approvals from both the state and federal governments. PGE is in the second year of what is expected to be a three-year permitting process, which includes a variety of opportunities for public input.