Transmission line approved

CASPER — Wyoming’s largest electric utility has secured permission to build another piece of its Energy Gateway transmission expansion. 

The Wyoming Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved the final permit that PacifiCorp, parent company to Rocky Mountain Power, needed to proceed with construction of the roughly 400-mile Gateway South transmission line. 

The project, originally announced in 2019, will stretch from a substation near Medicine Bow to another near Mona, Utah. 

It’s been nearly two years since the utility announced that it had applied to the Public Service Commission for the expansion, which it hopes will make its transmission system safer and more reliable. 

It estimated at the time that the project would employ up to 230 workers at a time during the construction phase. 

A roughly 75-mile addition to the utility’s existing Gateway West transmission line also received regulatory approval Tuesday. PacifiCorp plans to start construction on Gateway South in June and the Gateway West segment in August, and expects both additions to enter service in late 2024 — about a year later than it originally anticipated. 

The latest round of permits is “very significant,” said Glen Murrell, executive director of the Wyoming Energy Authority. 

“Continuing the build out of that infrastructure is critical for allowing Wyoming to continue to access markets,” he said. 

Gary Hoogeveen, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, said Tuesday at an Energy Authority event that a range of technologies are on the table for the utility, from more familiar wind and solar to novel technologies like advanced nuclear and hydrogen. 

“It starts with transmission,” Hoogeveen said, and the utility “couldn’t be happier” about the Gateway South approval. 

Permitting for parts of the Energy Gateway expansion has been underway since 2007. 

“It has taken 15 years to build out the system,” Hoogeveen said. “We’re not done — we’ve probably got another decade to go to build out the system.” 

Bringing any new energy resources online — including advanced nuclear — will require transmission, Hoogeveen said, and “Wyoming is leading the way in building out this transmission system.”