In mid-December, 2011, BPA’s Capital Access Board approved Transmission’s recommendation to start a major new project at the Celilo Terminal. The project would modernize and simplify the equipment at Celilo, and install reinforced towers at selected locations on the northern part of the DC line. The Pacific Direct Current Intertie (PDCI) is a unique and valuable resource, not just for BPA, but for the entire region. This project reflects BPA’s commitment to maintain its part of the region’s transmission infrastructure and to prepare for future energy challenges.
Contingent on completing appropriate environmental review, construction would start in early 2015. This project would replace the aging four converter terminal at Celilo with a modern two converter terminal. When the new equipment goes into service in early 2016, these improvements would immediately upgrade the PDCI from its present rated capacity of 3,100 MW to 3,220 MW. Should BPA’s California partners upgrade the southern portion of the DC line and install modifications at the southern DC line terminus (Sylmar, Cal.), BPA’s work would allow the DC line’s capacity to increase to 3,800 MW.
The project would deliver several important advantages:
Improves reliability for all users - The upgrade would assure a reliable future for the region’s valuable transmission infrastructure. It would make the PDCI more dependable and allow the continued transfer of power between the Northwest and Southern California, a benefit for both regions.
Benefits regional economy - The project would boost the economy and create or secure jobs. It would involve spending on construction materials, transportation services, site preparation and construction, food, fuel and lodging for construction staff.
Accommodates increased power transmission - The PDCI upgrade would allow even more clean power, including hyrdo, wind and solar, to reach markets that need it. Upgrading and reinforcing existing transmission pathways causes less environmental disruption than building new lines.
Supports customers' needs - The project would fulfill requests from BPA’s customer for more DC transmission capacity. Generators are queued up, waiting to get their power delivered to markets. Increasing DC line capacity helps meet the needs of regional power generators and consumers in California.