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7th Annual Western Transmission Summit

Event Description and Agenda:

At this unique forum, you will hear top executives from the Western area's regional planning entities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies discuss and debate the most critical issues surrounding transmission expansion in the Western region. You will have the opportunity to brainstorm with these thought leaders on how to address complex planning, siting, and market structure issues while balancing reliability, policy directives and economic interests. Hear key project managers reveal the inside details of the most important transmission projects in the region in case study sessions. Don't miss this opportunity to learn and network with the key players in the Western energy market.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

8:00 - 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. :: Panel: FERC 1000 - Where are We Now?

What impacts, both anticipated and unexpected, have we seen since Order 1000 was issued in 2011? This panel will explore the present day reality and future direction of Order 1000 from both the Regional Planners' and the Transmission Developers' perspectives, including:

  • Interregional Planning
    • What challenges and opportunities does Order 1000 present?
    • How do you best develop interregional coordination plans?
    • How are seams issues addressed?
  • Cost Allocation Requirements
    • Is Order 1000 advancing cost allocation?
  • Competitive Bidding Process
    • Did Order 1000 increase competition as intended?
  • FERC's Rulings Since Order 1000
    • What implications do these decisions have for non- incumbent developers?

Dave Angel, Manager of Customer Operations Planning, Idaho Power, and Planning Committee Chair, Northern Tier Transmission Group

Ron Belval, Supervisor Transmission Planning, Tucson Electric Power, and Chair, Planning Management Committee, WestConnect

Patrick Damiano, CEO, ColumbiaGrid

Gary Deshazo Director, Regional Coordination, Infrastructure Development, California ISO (CAISO)

David Getts, General Manager, Southwestern Power Group

DATC representative - invited

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. :: The State Regulators' Perspective on Transmission Expansion in the West

  • How has FERC 1000 impacted the PUCs' role in transmission expansion in the West?
  • What benefits and challenges does competition for regionally cost-shared transmission projects create for PUCs and ratepayers?
  • How do the PUCs see their role changing as Federal regulation of new transmission projects increases?


Mark Safty, Partner and Practice Group Leader for the Energy and Infrastructure Group, Holland and Hart


Jason Brown, Attorney, Montana Public Service Commission

Marcelo Poirier, Legal and Policy Advisor to Commissioner Florio, California PUC

Laurie A. Woodall Esq., Policy Advisor to Chairman Susan Bitter Smith, Arizona Corporation Commission

11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. :: Case Study: Southern California Edison's Tehachapi Renewable: Breaking New Ground

The Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project will deliver renewable electricity from wind and solar generators in the Tehachapi Mountains to SCE customers and the California transmission grid. It includes 3.5 miles of 500kV underground transmission line and is the first of its kind in North America. With an anticipated completion date of late 2016 to mid-2017, this project plays a vital role in meeting California's renewable energy goal of 33 percent by the year 2020.

Sandra Blain, Major Projects Organization, Transmission and Distribution, Southern California Edison

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:15 - 2:00 p.m. :: Case Study: Permitting the Boardman - Hemingway (B2H) Project

This case study will provide an inside look at the past, present and future of the B2H transmission project, including:

  • Permitting Processes Overview
    • Federal permitting process (BLM-led NEPA Process)
    • Oregon State permitting process (ODOE-led EFSC Process)
  • Permitting History
    • NEPA
    • EFSC
  • Permitting Pause - Public Participation (Community Advisory Process - CAP)
  • Re-Initializing Permitting
    • Today in each processes
    • Future permitting information
  • Changes and Challenges Impacting B2H Permitting
    • Project purpose and need
    • Other transmission projects
    • Project permitting partners
    • Federal process & state process
    • Planning challenges
    • Reliability criteria challenges
    • Future changes/challenges

Doug Dockter, Manager, 500kV Projects, Idaho Power Company

2:00 - 2:45 p.m. :: Case Study: Vantage to Pomona Heights 230 kV Transmission Line - A Federal Agency's Role

Pacific Power has proposed to construct, operate, and maintain a new 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line in south-central Washington, extending from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Vantage Substation to Pacific Power's Pomona Heights Substation. This project would cross private, state and federal lands. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating the federal environmental review and permitting processes in consultation with cooperating agencies, tribes, and other interested parties. A National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Impact Statement is in development (NEPA EIS) to analyze the effects of granting, granting with conditions, or denying Pacific Power's right-of-way applications across federal lands, state and private lands.

The U.S. Army - Joint Base Lewis McChord-Yakima Training Center, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Bonneville Power Administration, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Kittitas County and Yakima County are Cooperating Agencies and are assisting with the preparation of the NEPA EIS.

Roberta (Robin) B. Estes, OR/WA BLM FERC Hydropower Coordinator, Project Manager & Public Servant, Division of Resource Planning, Use & Protection, Oregon State Office, Bureau of Land Management

2:45 - 3:15 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:15 - 4:00 p.m. :: Case Study: Completing the NEPA Process for SunZia Southwest Transmission Project

This case study will provide an overview of the SunZia Project and lessons learned during the development and permitting phase of the project. The SunZia Project is a proposed extra high voltage transmission system located between central New Mexico and central Arizona. The project consists of two 500 kV AC single circuit lines and up to five substations. SunZia will provide access to high value stranded renewable energy resources for delivery across the Desert Southwest region. Focal points of this discussion will be on lessons learned during the nearly six-year effort to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and SunZia's experience with mitigating impacts to nearby military installations.

Tom Wray, Project Manager, SunZia, Southwestern Power Group

4:00 - 5:00 p.m. :: The California ISO Energy Imbalance Market: Driving Change in the West

In this session, you'll learn about the latest developments in EIM, including:

  • Update on EIM operations and benefits
  • New EIM entities; NV Energy and potential for additional expansion
  • Key transmission elements of EIM design
  • EIM Year 1 enhancements stakeholder efforts

Sarah Edmonds, Director of Transmission Policy, PacifiCorp

Mark Rothleder, Vice President, CAISO

Friday, February 20, 2014

8:00 - 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 9:15 a.m. :: Case Study of Two Clean Line Energy Projects: Centennial West and Western Spirit

This session will review two of Clean Line Energy's current transmission projects, both of which originate in New Mexico and terminate in Southern California. Topics to be covered include:

  • Interconnection
    • CAISO
    • WECC Project Coordination Review
    • PNM
    • APS
  • Environmental and Routing
    • SF-299
    • BLM and Western joint leads on CW
    • Preliminary routes developed
    • ROW acquisition commenced with Pueblos and private land owners
  • Outreach
  • Agreements and Partnerships
    • Western JDA

Keith Sparks, Director of Development, Clean Line Energy Partners

9:15 - 10:15 a.m. :: Wind Expansion and Renewable Integration - Implications for Transmission Developers and Operators

The effects of variable renewable generation on the planning, design, and operation of the bulk electric system have been an important industry topic for over a decade. Since then, large-scale wind generation has become a non-negligible portion of the electric supply mix in the west. Solar photovoltaics (PV) is now undergoing a similar surge. In this presentation, you will learn about:

  • The technical and economic issues associated with managing these variable energy delivery resources
  • Advances in power system planning and operational practices to accommodate substantial variable renewable energy
  • The evolving methods and mechanisms for maintaining the reliability of the bulk power system in the face of new challenges

Bob Zavadil, Executive Vice President of Power Systems Consulting, Co-Founder, EnerNex

10:15 - 10:45 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. :: EPA 111(d) and the Impact on the Western Transmission Grid

EPA 111(d) will have many different implications for how existing resources and the need for new transmission assets are affected. Inter-state coordination will be necessary since much of the power generation that will be covered under 111(d) will be traded. This panel will explore critical questions such as:

  • Can states cooperate and work together to come up with a compliance plan? What type of dialogue must occur for a multi-state plan?
  • How can the states that generate and export electricity to the western region work with the importing states to create a feasible plan?
  • How can transmission operators help WECC and the planning regions to better assess the transmission needs of the region?
  • How is transmission planning done when the policy drivers are changing?

Whitney Ketchum, Research Analyst, Rhodium Group

Angela Tanghetti, Electricity Analysis Office, California Energy Commission

John Shenot, Senior Associate, US Programs, Regulatory Assistance Project

NERC Staff - invited

12:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

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