Substation and equipment upgrades to the California-Oregon Intertie will enable the transmission link to operate at its maximum 4.8GW capacity more frequently.
The improvements also benefit the Pacific Direct Current Intertie — another high-voltage line that connects the BPA transmission system to southern California. The improvements will allow BPA to operate that line at its capacity of 3.1GW more often as well.
The system operator is currently embroiled in legal action with wind-farm owners in the Pacific Northwest region over nightly curtailments of their projects' electricity output. As of 13 July, a total of 97,557MWh of wind had been curtailed — 6.1% of the scheduled output.
The row is caused by oversupply from the region's hydropower plants. BPA said it hoped the improved links with California could help ease overcapacity problems in the future and allow the two regions to share more surplus energy, strengthening the transmission grid, providing flexibility and allowing the regions to share affordable and environmentally friendly electricity.
BPA said it was also upgrading and constructing high-voltage transmission lines within the Northwest region to support wind and ease bottlenecks in the system.