Boardman to Hemingway: A Clean-Energy Superhighway
Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) is crucial to Clean Today, Cleaner Tomorrow® — Idaho Power’s goal of providing 100% clean energy by 2045. This transmission line will allow Idaho Power to import reliable, affordable, clean energy from the Pacific Northwest to meet growing demand in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon.
What is B2H?
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 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 2022. 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 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. Throughout the permitting and construction phases, we’ll continue working with stakeholders 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 use 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.
Idaho Power pursues the following goals when identifying and evaluating transmission line corridors for B2H:
- Avoid or minimize impacts to the environment to the greatest extent possible.
- Develop a corridor that meets engineering and construction requirements in a fiscally responsible manner.
- Connect existing and planned substations.
- Solicit public comment and implement suggestions where possible.
As the project progresses and the routing is refined to a 100- to 250-foot right of way corridor, Idaho Power will work with individual landowners to discuss where best to site the transmission line towers and access roads on their land.
B2H’s towers will have multiple designs. They will be single-circuit configurations on steel lattice or steel H-frame towers.
Idaho Power follows all applicable safety codes and standards to ensure our systems operate safely and reliably. The National Electric Safety Code (NESC) is the industry–accepted safety standard that guides the design, installation, operation and maintenance of transmission lines and equipment.
If federal and state agencies approve a transmission line route, Idaho Power will work with affected property owners to determine the exact line location and identify opportunities to reduce impacts to the property. Visit our “Landowner Information” section for more information.
Proposed design standards are listed below.
Tower heights (average)
- Steel lattice: 140 feet (ranges from 130 to 180 feet)
- Steel H-frame: 100 feet (ranges from 100 to 130 feet)
40 by 40 feet
Span length (average)
Ground clearance (average)
Right of way width (typical)
100 to 250 feet
Potential Tower Structures
Building a transmission line is a big undertaking. It includes building access roads and towers, stringing lines and restoring disturbed lands. Idaho Power will oversee all transmission line and substation design and construction. The company will hire construction companies to build the line.
Construction of B2H will begin after Idaho Power receives an Energy Facility Site Certificate from the Oregon Department of Energy’s Energy Facility Siting Council (ODOE-EFSC), as well as a conditional use permit in Owyhee County, Idaho.
Idaho Power will follow all state and federal siting requirements when siting the line. Additionally, all applicable safety codes and standards will be followed to ensure the system operates safely and reliably.
- Build access roads and prepare construction sites
- Install tower foundations
- Assemble the tower structures
- String the electrical line over the towers
- Restore and revegetate disturbed lands
Since beginning the siting process for B2H in 2010, Idaho Power has taken major steps toward obtaining federal, state and local permits for B2H. We hope to finalize permitting in 2022, break ground in 2023 and energize B2H as early as 2026. Below, you can find descriptions of the federal and state permitting processes, as well as a look at the project’s history.
Idaho Power has obtained authorization for B2H to cross lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Forest Service, Department of the Navy and Bureau of Reclamation.
The BLM issued its Record of Decision in November 2017 and granted a right-of-way to Idaho Power Company for the construction, operation and maintenance of B2H on BLM-administered land.
The Forest Service released its Record of Decision on Nov. 9, 2018, approving a special-use authorization to Idaho Power for B2H across land administered by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
The Navy released its Record of Decision on October 2, 2019, allowing for an easement for Idaho Power to construct, operate, and maintain B2H on Navy-administered land.
You can find details on federal permitting at the following sites:
For more information, contact:
- Wallowa-Whitman National Forest: (541) 523-6391
- BLM Vale office: (541) 473-3144
Oregon law requires Idaho Power to obtain a Site Certificate from the Oregon Department of Energy’s (ODOE) Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) to build and operate B2H on state land. ODOE’s process combines state and local government requirements, including land use, into a single decision and appeal path.
Idaho Power applied for a Site Certificate in 2018. In 2019, EFSC held public hearings in each of the five Oregon counties that B2H would cross: Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Baker and Malheur. The public had opportunities to speak on the project at each event or submit comments during a 93-day public comment period.
In July 2020, ODOE issued a proposed order recommending that EFSC approve Idaho Power’s B2H application. Opponents of the project contested the case before a hearing officer appointed by the state. The officer has heard testimony from supporters and opponents of the project. At the conclusion of the case, EFSC will issue a final decision that approves or denies Idaho Power’s application.
More information on the Oregon process is available on EFSC’s webpage for B2H and in ODOE’s Guide to Siting and Oversight of Energy Facilities.
To receive mail or email notices about B2H, subscribe through ClickDimensions or contact ODOE’s Facility Siting Team at (503) 378-4040.
Idaho Power identified the need for more capacity on transmission lines between the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West in the company’s 2022 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The concept for B2H first appeared in Idaho Power’s 2006 IRP, which called it the “Boise-McNary Connection.”
- Idaho Power initiates the B2H project.
- Idaho Power begins collecting data for the preliminary routing process.
- December 19: Idaho Power files an Application for Transportation and Utility Systems and Facilities on Federal Lands (SFF-299) with the BLM.
- Idaho Power files an SF-299 with the Forest Service.
- Idaho Power briefs county planning and zoning staff, community leaders and elected officials on the project.
- Idaho Power discusses the project, including potential routes, with the BLM and ODOE.
- July: Idaho Power hosts the Baker Valley Stakeholder Meeting to gather input on the community’s concerns, opportunities and priorities.
- August: Idaho Power presents a proposed route and alternate routes to the BLM and ODOE along with a Notice of Intent to submit an application for Site Certificate to ODOE.
- September 12: The BLM publishes a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in the Federal Register.
- October: The BLM and ODOE host public scoping meetings.
- January 26: ODOE publishes its Project Order.
- March: Idaho Power announces the Community Advisory Process (CAP). Contact us at email@example.com for archives and information about the CAP.
- April 10: The BLM publishes its Public Scoping Report.
- May-October: Idaho Power hosts several rounds of CAP meetings with the Project Advisory Team (PAT), a group of government officials, business leaders, conservation experts and other stakeholders.
- Throughout the year, Idaho Power continues meeting with interest groups, communities and elected officials to discuss B2H. These meetings including routing discussions with the PATs.
- April 6: Idaho Power announces its plan to submit the eastern route alternative as its proposed route in revised applications to the BLM and Forest Service, as well as its notice of intent to ODOE.
- May 14: The Oregon Department of Energy’s Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) holds a meeting on B2H in Baker County and tours Malheur County farms and ranches.
- June: Idaho Power submits its revised SF-299 and Preliminary Plan of Development to the BLM and Forest Service to reinitiate the federal review process.
- July: Idaho Power hosts CAP open house events and submits a new Notice of Intent to Apply for a Site Certificate to ODOE.
- July 16: The BLM, Forest Service and ODOE reopen the public scoping and comment period and announce public meeting dates, requesting comments on Idaho Power’s proposed routes and related documents.
- August: The BLM, Forest Service and ODOE host public scoping and information meetings.
- September 27: The BLM, Forest Service and ODOE close the public scoping period.
- January: Idaho Power hosts a landowner meeting in Morrow County to discuss route options.
- March 22: Idaho Power hosts a landowner meeting to discuss route options in Union County.
- The BLM and Forest Service publish the revised scoping report documenting input from official comment periods and Idaho Power’s CAP.
- Summer: Idaho Power field crews conduct the first round of environmental surveys.
- August 16: The BLM hosts the first in a series of meetings for the (National Historic Preservation Act) NHPA Section 106 consultation process.
- B2H is named a pilot project for the federal Rapid Response team for Transmission.
- Idaho Power, PacifiCorp and BPA agree in January to jointly fund the environmental review and permitting process for B2H.
- March 22: The ODOE issues a Project Order, informing Idaho Power of the issues, regulations and impact analysis areas it must address in its Application for a Site Certificate (ASC).
- Spring and summer: Idaho Power field crews conduct another round of environmental surveys.
- July: The BLM meets with landowners along several new route alternatives.
- August: The BLM, Forest Service, ODOE and Idaho Power host open house meetings to update the public on new alternatives B2H is considering, next steps in the federal and state review processes, upcoming documents for public review and future public comment opportunities.
- October 2: BPA identifies B2H as its preferred option and top priority for serving BPA customers in southeastern Idaho.
- February: Idaho Power submits its preliminary Application for Site Certificate (pASC) to the ODOE.
- April: The BLM and Forest Service share preliminary environmentally preferred alternatives with tribes and cooperating agencies.
- May: The BLM and Forest Service share preliminary environmentally preferred alternatives with the public in May, noting that the publication of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will kick off a public comment period.
- December 19: The BLM releases the draft EIS, beginning a 90-day public comment period that ended March 19, 2015.
- January: The BLM hosts seven public open house events along the project route to provide Draft EIS information and give the public a chance to ask questions and submit written comments.
- March 19: The Draft EIS public comment period closes.
- November 25: The BLM releases the Final EIS and Proposed Land Use Plan Amendments, opening a 30-day availability period and land use planning protest period.
- November 17: The BLM releases its Record of Decision (ROD) for B2H.
- June: The Forest Service publishes its draft ROD and conducts an objection process with a 45-day objection filing period.
- Sept. 17: ODOE deems the pASC complete.
- October 3: Idaho Power submits a final ASC, opening a series of public information meetings in each of the five Oregon counties B2H will cross.
- November 9: The Forest Service publishes its ROD for 6.8 miles of the project that crosses part of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
- May: ODOE recommends approval of Idaho Power’s application in a Draft Proposed Order (DPO).
- June: ODOE holds public hearings on the DPO.
- October 2: The Navy publishes its ROD.
- July: ODOE issues a Proposed Order and Notice of Proposed Order and Contested Case. The Proposed Order recommends EFSC approval of Idaho Power’s application, subject to recommended site certificate conditions.
- Idaho Power and government agencies continue meeting with interest groups, communities and elected officials to discuss B2H.
- Idaho Power conducts geotechnical, environmental, cultural and other field surveys as part of federal and state permitting processes.
- Idaho Power begins detailed design of B2H, determining precise location of structures, the heights of specific poles and other details of the project.
- The BLM continues NHPA Section 106 consultation.
- ODOE begins contested case proceedings.
- A court dismisses a challenge to the federal government’s Record of Decision. Federal authorization of B2H can no longer be challenged.
- The hearing officer in the EFSC administrative hearing issues a proposed contested case order, recommending the council grant a site certificate for B2H.
- Idaho Power meets with owners of land along the project route to negotiate easements and rights-of-entry.
- Idaho Power conducts geotechnical and environmental surveys along the project route.
- Sept. 27: EFSC unanimously approves a site certificate for B2H.
- Idaho Power will apply for recognition from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and Oregon Public Utility Commission that B2H is in the public interest.
- Idaho Power will apply for an Owyhee County permit to build the eastern end of the line.
- Idaho Power, PacifiCorp and BPA will finalize terms of their participation in B2H.
- Idaho Power will continue to meet with community members, representatives of government agencies and other stakeholders to discuss B2H.
- Idaho Power will continue to conduct field work as part of the federal and state review processes.
- The BLM will continue NHPA Section 106 consultation.
Idaho Power is committed to working with landowners along the B2H route to minimize interference with your use of the property during design, construction and maintenance of B2H. Based on your feedback, we might be able to adjust the project’s design and location.
To build, operate maintain or gain access to B2H, we will need to acquire rights-of-way to private property along the project route.
What is a right-of-way?
A right-of-way allows Idaho Power to use or enter your land for a specified purpose. Idaho Power will pay landowners to:
- Periodically access your road or land
- Stage materials on your land during construction
- Build transmission towers on your property
How does Idaho Power acquire a right-of-way?
Idaho Power wants to work with landowners to reach right-of-way agreements that satisfy both sides, minimize impacts to you and your property, and provide fair compensation. Our company or a contractor typically negotiates the terms of the easement, including rights to use a portion of your land, restrictions and compensation, directly with the property owner. After granting Idaho Power an easement, you can use the land in the easement corridor as you wish, as long as you honor the easement’s terms.
You will receive a one-time payment in exchange for access to build part of the power line on your property and subsequently operate and maintain it. Idaho Power’s right-of-way agents will negotiate this compensation directly with the landowner.
Farming near the line
Idaho Power will work with landowners to reduce impacts to agriculture. For example, we might coordinate the timing of construction with you to minimize short-term impacts to your farming work. Most farming activities can continue once the transmission line is in place. Allowable uses inside a right-of-way might include:
- Harvesting, grazing and irrigation
- Temporary structures
- Crops or fields
- Road crossings
- Timber production
Even after granting Idaho Power a right-of-way, you can restrict general access to your property with fences, locks or other equipment.
Idaho Power will contact you to arrange access to your property before conducting any fieldwork there. Permission to access your property is call “right-of-entry.” It does not constitute your consent to an easement.
Right-of-entry authorizes Idaho Power or its contractors to enter your property to conduct required fieldwork, including
- Cultural, biological and archaeological surveys
- Wetlands and weed inventories
- Geotechnical investigations
- Property boundary surveys.
Idaho Power will notify you at least 24 hours before arriving at your property.