Carlin Bay – O'Gara Transmission Line
Avista owns and operates a system of over 2,200 miles of electric transmission facilities. As we plan for the future, we forecast how much power we will need to serve all our customers and how that power will get there safely and reliably. Sometimes that means extending our transmission facilities and lines.
About 20 years ago, we began to plan for the amount of power needed on the east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The existing system can no longer support the growth in the area. In 2011, Avista purchased property for a new substation. It will be built near Carlin Bay on South Elk Road, located approximately 6 miles north of Harrison in Kootenai County, just off Highway 97.
We are now looking at where the transmission lines will come from for the new substation. The area between Carlin Bay Substation and O’Gara Substation has diverse terrain—mountains, forests, wetlands, river crossings and farmland. Most of it is privately owned though there are some state and federal lands. We value your input on the new route. Open house opportunities will be available to learn more and comment.
How will a new route be decided?
Avista has formed a team of subject matter experts familiar with 115 kV line design, environmental review and permitting, public process and information, and rights-of-way acquisition. As a first step to this project, Avista representatives are conducting environmental and structure location surveys to help identify the option(s) that will be least impactful to the surrounding area. Utilizing this information and the feedback from the community during the open houses, Avista will determine the final route.
How can I participate?
Avista encourages you to participate in this transmission line upgrade process at an open house or submitting comments through the designated website. Input concerning the line route and transmission line appearance is appreciated and will be considered in the final design.
When are the Open Houses?
Avista will be hosting public open houses to discuss the specifics of this project.
September 27th from 5pm to 7pm:
Harrison Elementary School
13030 E Ogara Road, Harrison, ID 83833
About Transmission Poles
Avista will use primarily single pole setups made from corten steel. This is a self-weathering steel with a coating that looks very similar to rust. In forested environments, the poles blend in with the surroundings better than galvanized steel. These poles will typically be 60-100’ above ground, but certain terrain or environmental obstacles could necessitate alternative designs and heights.
- Transmission Siting Review: Completed January 2024
- Preliminary Design: 2024
- Easement Acquisition Process: 2024
- Permitting and Design Begins: 2024
- Transmission Line Construction Begins: 2025
- Transmission Line Construction Complete: 2026
Through projects like this, Avista will be able to bring more power into the area. Other advantages include:
- Increased reliability for customers.
- Increased flexibility to deliver energy and reserve capacity.
- Provide a back-up resource to shift electrical loads when there is an outage, equipment failure, etc. which will help restore power more quickly.
- Provide the capacity to respond to future growth and energy demands.
The Need for Additional Line Capacity
Avista has not built new 115kV Transmission Lines in this area since the early 1960s. Today, the growth of our region has left very little transmission capacity for continued growth or emergency situations.
How is the environmental impact considered?
While impacts cannot be avoided, we have looked extensively into how they can be minimized. We have identified critical areas between Carlin Bay and O’Gara substations that we would like to avoid entirely. We have also identified preferred corridors that would require the least amount of site disturbance.
When analyzing possible routes, all types of factors, including but not limited to current land use, water bodies (wetlands, rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.), critical habitat, floodplains, and geologically hazardous areas, were given a weighted value based on their significance.
Once a final route is confirmed, we will take a closer look at how impacts can be further reduced. Where possible, the transmission line may be able to span over sensitive areas or shift slightly to avoid them completely.
For more information, email CBY-OGA@avistacorp.com.