September 12, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Moore, Sightline Institute,  

FULL ARTICLE: Who Will Pay for Cascadia’s Transmission Lines? 

OREGON and WASHINGTON The Pacific Northwest will need billions of dollars invested in its grid to achieve stated climate goals, but major financial disincentives are stopping transmission developers, namely investor-owned utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), from paying for new regional transmission lines. While recent discussion of barriers to transmission expansion has centered on permitting, the question of how to fund new transmission lines is equally crucial. Elected leaders can help answer it, according to new analysis from think tank Sightline Institute, with three smart financing and assurance measures: 

  1. The Northwest congressional delegation, including Washington senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, can encourage BPA to tap more of its $17.7 billion federal borrowing authority to pay for and build transmission lines. 
  2. The Oregon and Washington legislatures can create state entities to partner with non-utility transmission developers. 
  3. Governors Jay Inslee and Tina Kotek can lead development of a multistate agreement that provides transmission developers greater assurance of recouping their investments. 

“These projects are expensive, yes,” said Emily Moore, author of the article and director of Sightline Institute’s climate and energy program. “But no one living in the Northwest can deny the massive costs we’ve shouldered as a result of climate-fueled wildfires, heat waves, and dangerous air quality—costs that balloon well past those of building new transmission lines. It’s time we get serious and big about building the energy future we want.” 

Read the full analysis: Who Will Pay for Cascadia’s Transmission Lines? 



Emily Moore, Director of Sightline Institute’s Climate and Energy program, leads the organization’s work transitioning Cascadia away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner energy sources. Find her latest research here, and follow her on Twitter at @_enmoore_. 

Sightline Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank providing leading original analysis of energy, housing, democracy, and forests policy in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, British Columbia, and beyond.  


September 12, 2023