Bonneville Power Administration
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is an American federal agency based in the Pacific Northwest. BPA was created by an act of Congress in 1937 to market electric power from the Bonneville Dam located on the Columbia River and to construct facilities necessary to transmit that power. Congress has since designated Bonneville to be the marketing agent for power from all of the federally owned hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest. Bonneville, whose headquarters are located in Portland, Oregon, is one of four regional Federal power marketing agencies within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Although BPA is part of the DOE, it is self-funded and covers its costs by selling its products and services at cost. The BPA provides about 35% of the electricity used in the region. BPA transmits and sells wholesale electricity in eight western states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California.
BPA's first industrial sale was to Alcoa in January 1940, to provide 32,500 kilowatts of power. This, and the following 162,500 killowatt order, led to complaints of the Bonneville Power Act's anti-monopoly clause. The cheap price of aluminum from Alcoa helped aluminum sales grow in the post-World War II market.
BPA now markets the electricity from thirty-one federal hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River and its tributaries, as well as from the Columbia Generating Station, a nuclear plant located on the Hanford Site in eastern Washington. BPA has more than 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of electrical lines and 300 substations in the Pacific Northwest and controls approximately 75 percent of the high-voltage (230 kV and higher) transmission capacity in the region. BPA also maintains connection lines with other power grids in Canada (two BC Hydro AC 500 kV lines and several lower voltage lines). BPA's power grid is connected to the California high-voltage transmission system by Path 66, which consists of the two 500 kV AC lines of the Pacific AC Intertie, plus a third 500 kV AC line of the California-Oregon Transmission Project (COTP) (managed by the Balancing Authority of Northern California). Together these three lines are operated as the California-Oregon Intertie (COI) (Managed by CAISO). An additional DC +/- 500 kV line, the Pacific DC Intertie, links BPA's grid at the Celilo Converter Station near The Dalles, Oregon to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADW&P) grid 800 miles (1,300 km) away at the Sylmar Converter Station in Sylmar north of Los Angeles.
The power generated on BPA's grid is sold to public utilities, private utilities, and industry on the grid. The excess is sold to other grids in Canada, California and other regions. Because BPA is a public entity, it does not make a profit on power sales or from providing transmission services. BPA also coordinates with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to regulate flow of water in the Columbia River and to carry out environmental projects such as salmon restoration.
See also