MADRAS, Ore. — The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWS), alongside Portland General Electric (PGE), hosted Tribal, utility, national and state energy leaders at the Pelton Round Butte Hydropower Project in Madras today to celebrate the launch of their partnership to complete a major transmission upgrade in Oregon.
In October, CTWS was selected to receive a $250 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help upgrade the 230 kV Bethel-Round Butte transmission line – a crucial artery in the region’s transmission system. This infrastructure enhancement will unlock renewable energy potential on the Warm Springs Reservation and bring revenue to historically underserved communities, while connecting resources east of the Cascades to customers in the Willamette Valley. Funding for the upgrade was awarded through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program – an unprecedented $10.5 billion investment from the federal government in initiatives that enhance grid flexibility and resilience in the face of growing threats from climate change.
“Lack of transmission access has been a chronic obstacle in achieving our renewable goals. That brings us to today, and the significant opportunity promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Jonathan Smith, CTWS Tribal Chairman. “We believe the GRIP grant was tailor-made for our unique partnership, our mutual goals in the pursuit of renewable energy, and the desire to create economic benefits for Tribal communities.”
Festivities in Madras this morning began with a blessing from the Warm Springs Tribal Council, followed by remarks in support of this endeavor, offered by leaders from Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises, PGE and the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Thank you to the leaders of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, the U.S. Department of Energy, and all the state, labor, and community partners who worked together in close partnership to make today possible. Expanding transmission capacity is essential to keeping power reliable and affordable as we transition to a clean energy future,” said Maria Pope, PGE President & CEO. “PGE is honored to deepen our decades-long partnership with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, enabling tremendous opportunities for renewable clean energy development.”
Increasing the line’s capacity will help meet growing electrical demand from customers in PGE’s service area, which contains about half of Oregon’s population and two thirds of the state’s commercial and industrial activity.
“The DOE selected this project because it commits to clean energy development with the integration of indigenous knowledge and traditional ecological wisdom into the project design,” said Kristen Frick, Project Manager for the Grid Innovation Program at U.S. DOE. “It includes tribal leadership in stakeholder decision-making discussions, and creates good paying, local union jobs as well as offering workforce development and mentorship programs.”
Today’s celebration was the first milestone in a lengthy process that will include environmental and scoping studies, design, permitting and construction. Throughout the upgrade, CTWS and PGE will work closely with partners, landowners, and other jurisdictions to make this project a reality.
1 / 8
Carlos Calica, a member of the Warm Springs Tribal Council, shared a blessing for the project and partnership.Download
CTWS and PGE are also working together to reintroduce salmon and steelhead runs to the Deschutes River Basin.Download
Jonathan Smith, CTWS Tribal Chairman, and Maria Pope, PGE President & CEO.Download
Project partners and community leaders celebrated together in Madras, OR.Download
Round Butte Dam is co-owned and co-operated by the CTWS and PGE.Download
Some event attendees participated in a tour of Round Butte Dam.Download
Today's event was held at the Pelton Round Butte hydroelectric project office in Madras.Download
Tribal, utility, national, and labor leaders celebrated this energy infrastructure milestone.Download
For more information contact:
Cathy Ehli, Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises
For more information contact:
Allison Dobscha, Portland General Electric Company