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Warm Springs Tribes, Portland General Electric to launch DOE-funded $250 million major transmission upgrade

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, in partnership with Portland General Electric, are holding a celebratory event on Friday, Dec. 1, marking the launch of their partnership to complete a major transmission upgrade, funded in part by a $250 million investment from the U.S. Department of Energy.

CTWS received the grant from DOE in October as part of the Grid Resilience Innovative Partnership Program (GRIP).

This project will increase capacity of the Bethel-Round Butte transmission line, a crucial artery in the region’s transmission system, key to enabling renewable energy potential on the CTWS Reservation, PGE said.

The utility said: "This innovative project will unlock resources for the Tribes, including new renewable infrastructure, opportunities for industrial development, clean energy jobs, and revenue. Enhancements to transmission infrastructure will also allow renewable energy from Central and Eastern Oregon – and throughout the West – to be delivered to centers of electrical demand in PGE’s service area."

The kickoff of the long-term project will feature remarks from Tribal, utility and national leaders.

Here's the October news release from PGE:

U.S. DOE grants $250M to Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, in partnership with PGE, for critical transmission upgrades

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (Oct. 18, 2023) — The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWS) was selected to receive a $250 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help advance vital transmission upgrades. CTWS submitted the grant application to DOE, in partnership with Portland General Electric, as part of the Grid Resilience Innovative Partnerships Program (GRIP) open to Tribes. This significant investment in the reliability of Oregon’s clean energy infrastructure will enable enhancements to the existing 230 kV Bethel-Round Butte transmission line – a crucial artery in the region’s transmission system – connecting resources east of the Cascades, including on the Warm Springs Reservation, to customers in the Willamette Valley.

This innovative project will unlock a multitude of opportunities for the Tribes. New transmission capacity on the Warm Springs Reservation will enable the development of renewable infrastructure, accommodate new industrial development, create clean energy job opportunities, and bring revenue to historically underserved communities.

“This is a tremendous opportunity that will open the potential for renewable energy development on the CTWS Reservation to the economic benefit of the tribe and its membership,” said CTWS Tribal Chairman Jonathan Smith. “Upgrading the Bethel-Round Butte transmission line would serve to unlock access to renewable resources east of the Cascades to serve growing loads both east and west of the Cascades — and it further complements the long-standing partnership CTWS and PGE have had in the Pelton-Round Butte Hydroelectric Project.“

Increasing transmission capacity will also improve reliability and help meet growing electrical demand from customers in PGE’s service area, which includes about half of Oregon’s population and two thirds of the state’s commercial and industrial activity. Leveraging this grant, in addition to other federal funding opportunities, helps PGE manage customer prices while investing in resiliency and reliability. 

“Expanding transmission capacity is essential to keeping power reliable and affordable as we transition to a clean energy future,” said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO. “PGE is honored to deepen our decades long partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, enabling tremendous new opportunities for renewable clean energy development.” 

The Bethel-Round Butte transmission line was built in the 1960s in service to this valued partnership, delivering output from the Pelton-Round Butte hydropower facility to PGE customers. CTWS and PGE have been partners in this project, a certified low-impact hydro facility on the Deschutes River, since 2001, and look forward to continued collaboration.

Receiving the DOE grant is an exciting first step in a lengthy process that includes environmental and scoping studies, design, permitting and construction. Throughout the process, CTWS and PGE will work closely with partners, landowners, and other jurisdictions to make this project a reality.

Learn more About Portland General Electric Company

Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) is a fully integrated energy company that generates, transmits and distributes electricity to over 900,000 customers in 51 cities across the state of Oregon. For more than 130 years, Portland General Electric (PGE) has powered the advancement of society, delivering safe, affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy. To deliver on its strategy and meet state targets, PGE and its approximately 3,000 employees committed to partnering with stakeholders to achieve at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power served to customers by 2030 and 100% reduction by 2040. PGE customers set the standard for prioritizing clean energy with the No. 1 voluntary renewable energy program in the country. Additionally, for the fifth year in a row, PGE was recognized by the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index which highlights companies committed to creating a more equal and inclusive workplace. As a reflection of the company's commitment to the community it serves, in 2022, PGE employees, retirees and the PGE Foundation donated nearly $5.5 million and volunteered more than 18,000 hours with more than 400 nonprofits across Oregon. For more information visit

About the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon, is based in Central Oregon with a membership of over 5,000 Tribal Members from the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes. Learn more at .

And a news release from Senators Wyden and Merkley on this and other DOE-funded projects:

Wyden, Merkley: Oregon to Receive Nearly $450 Million in Federal Funds to Modernize the Power Grid

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today they welcomed the Biden administration announcement that Oregon will receive about $449.5 million in federal assistance to modernize the power grid, bolstering its ability to withstand fires, bad weather, natural disasters and more.

“Whether it’s been wildfires, windstorms, ice storms or other calamities, Oregon communities in recent years have suffered prolonged power outages among the dangers that arise when the grid goes down,” said Wyden, whose Disaster Safe Power Grid Act became law in 2021 as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. “I’m glad to see the Disaster Safe Power Grid Act I fought for, now making the power grid more resilient and helping to bring more renewables online. This major federal investment means Oregonians can feel more secure that they won’t freeze in the winter, bake in the summer and able to count on electricity year-round in their homes and small businesses.”

“It’s crucial for our power grids to remain up to date, especially as summer droughts and intense winter storms become more common and severe,” said Senator Merkley. “Oregonians shouldn’t have to worry about their health and lives being at risk due to power outages leaving them stranded without electricity for days or weeks, or because a stray power line sparked a catastrophic wildfire. This funding is a critical investment to modernize our power grids and help reduce the chance of outages or sparks.”

The $449.5 million from the federal Department of Energy will be distributed as follows:

·       $250 million to a partnership between Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to upgrade transmission capacity between PGE’s load centers, and renewable generation resources east of the Cascades -- including those on the Warm Springs reservation

·       $99.6 million to PacifiCorp for grid resilience and equitable workforce development in the West

·       $50 million to Portland General Electric to accelerate and deploy grid-edge computing for about 10 percent of PGE’s distribution system

·       $49.9 million to PacifiCorp to create a holistic ecosystem that reduces or mitigates wildfires and improves grid flexibility, reliability and resiliency.

Article Topic Follows: Warm Springs

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