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The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has approved a majority of the proposed Gateway West Transmission Line Project, a 990-mile, high-voltage line poised to provide up to 1.5 GW of transmission capacity in southern Wyoming and southern Idaho.

The DOI says the Gateway West project particularly expects to tap into the abundant wind energy resources that are being developed in the region. During the announcement, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said, "The line will strengthen the Western grid, bringing a diversified portfolio of renewable and conventional energy to meet the region's projected growth in electricity demand."

According to the DOI, Gateway West is one of seven priority projects of the Obama Administration's Rapid Response Team for Transmission, which aims to improve the overall quality and timeliness of electric transmission infrastructure permitting.

Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power proposed the Gateway West line as 10 segments originating at the Windstar substation near Glenrock, Wyo., and terminating at the Hemingway substation near Melba, Idaho, 20 miles southwest of Boise.

The DOI says the project underwent extensive review, with the final environmental impact statement issued on April 26. The department's Bureau of Land Management has elected to approve eight of the 10 segments and will make its decision regarding the final two following additional stakeholder outreach and public engagement. Once the project proponents meet all necessary conditions identified in the right-of-way grant, they can begin construction for the approved segments, the DOI adds.

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