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On Seventh Anniversary of Massive Christmas Power Outage in Sun Valley, Plans For Second Transmission Line Still Being Debated

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BEN WILSON
  • Ben Wilson
Many Wood River families shudder when they recall the Christmas of 2009. That's when a massive power outage swept through the region on Christmas Eve, shutting down ski lifts, blacking out the Sun Valley Resort and forcing nearly 17,000 people to open their presents and share Christmas dinner by candlelight.

The Wood River Valley went into a tizzy, with much of the community realizing their sole 138,000-volt transmission line, which failed due to a massive ice storm, was inadequate. Seven years later, planners are still working out the details on what it would take to install another transmission line.

"That's an expensive project," Idaho Power corporation communications leader Lynette Standley told Boise Weekly last Christmas.

She's right. A second 138,000-volt line could cost as much as $30 million, with Ketchum and Sun Valley shouldering anywhere from $2.7 million to $7.9 million for the cost of running part of the line underground from northeast Ketchum to a Sun Valley substation.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports this morning that the Ketchum City Council want to have a greater say in the planning process, voting unanimously Monday night to intervene before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. For starters, Ketchum officials say they want an independent analysis to include the impact of a local, renewable energy generation project to be plugged into the microgrid.

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