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Critics want to pull plug on 'big extension cord' through eastern Oregon

Source:  Copyright 2009, Oregonian
Date:  January 26, 2009
Byline:  Richard Cockle
Original URL: Status ONLINE


A plan to build a 298-mile-long power transmission corridor across eastern Oregon to Idaho is rankling residents who say it will spoil spectacular views and lacerate prime onion-growing territory.

But an Idaho Power Co. official says the utility's proposed project -- nicknamed "the big extension cord" -- is needed to meet growing demand.

Parts of the Northwest grid already are "very full at peak times," said Eric Hackett, Idaho Power's project leader. "If they are not at capacity, they are on the verge."

The project could be a sign of conflicts to come. With wind turbines popping up across eastern Oregon -- and a recent U.S. Department of Energy report predicting that U.S. demand for electricity is likely to grow 40 percent in the next 22 years -- the need for new power lines will only increase.

"The simple truth is, no one is happy when they see the news that a large power line is being constructed in their neighborhood," said ...

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