In a statement released on Friday, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) announced that it has approved the construction of a 285 mile (459 km)  power transmission line which will allow the utility to import wind energy from Idaho, and export excess solar power during periods of peak consumption.

Called the Southwest Intertie Project-North, the project will give the ISO access to roughly 1,000 megawatts (MW) of Idaho’s wind power capacity by 2027, by connecting to a 600-mile line at Harry Allen, Nevada, and running to Midpoint, Idaho.

In the announcement, ISO noted that the completed linkage would give the operator the ability to export as much as 500 MW of excess California solar power to Idaho.

The operator’s approval will be conditional on electric utility Idaho Power’s involvement, which it is expected will carry 22.8% of the overall costs of the joint project.

LS Power Development subsidiary Great Basin Transmission is expected to cover the remaining 77.2%, as part of its sponsorship and development of the $1 billion project.

The power line project will also need to be evaluated by California and Idaho public utility commissions, and it must be handed over to ISO for operation by LS Power once it is completed.

The statement noted that ISO is expected to render its final decision near the end of 2024, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will weigh in by the beginning of 2025.

The ISO had just approved a roughly $7.3 billion plan which would involve 45 new power transmission projects that will deliver it over 40 gigawatts of new power generation resources.

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