Path 66

Path 66

Path 66 (also called the California Oregon Intertie or abbreviated COI) is the name of several 500 kV power lines that were built by Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and PacifiCorp in the early 1970s to 1990s and totally completed (energized) in 1993. [Cite web|title=Pacic Intertie:The California Connection on the Electron Superhighway|url=|publisher=Northwest Power Planning Concil|accessdate=2007-09-20] It is the northern half of a set of three 500 kV lines that makes up the Pacific AC Intertie which is the AC portion of a greater project linking power grids in the Southwest with the grids in the Pacific Northwest. Also, this is the larger and older of the two segments of the Pacific AC Intertie that WAPA worked on, the other is the Los Banos-Gates third 500 kV wire of Path 15.Cite web|title=Administrator joins Gov. Schwarzenegger to commission Path 15|url=|publisher=Western Area Power Administration|accessdate=2007-09-20] The set of three 500 kV wires is mostly located in the Modoc Plateau.Citation|title=Paths 61-70|publisher=Western Electricity Coordinating Council|year=2006]

The route

Path 66 is composed of one segment of WAPA, PG&E and PacifiCorp 500 kV lines. The WAPA line route technically starts at Captain Jack Substation close to Malin, close to the California-Oregon border, near the Malin Substation, where the other 500 kV lines start (PacifiCorp & PG&E). These substations link to both the Pacificorp and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) grid in the Pacific Northwest.Route descriptions and tower designs are based on Google Earth images.] Cite web|title=California Transmission Lines|url=|accessdate=2007-09-20]

;Path 66 - Captain Jack to OlindaPath 66 consists of the northernmost segment of WAPA's Convert|346|mi|km|0|abbr=on 500 kV line from Captain Jack substation to Tracy substation in California's Central Valley. Leaving Captain Jack substation, the line first heads southeast as a single-circuit line and runs parallel with the other two 500 kV lines across the Modoc Plateau. It then turns west and climbs in elevation and reaches its highest point near Grizzly Peak at about 6,000 ft (1,828 m).Google Earth elevation for GNIS coordinates.] From there, it heads south, spanning over the Stonecoal Valley and the Pit River. Near Round Mountain, it turns southwest and the line is joined by two 230-kV lines as all three lines head into the Sacramento Valley. As the line passes by Cottonwood, it turns west and crosses Interstate 5. Near Olinda, it turns south and enters Olinda substation. Here the line interconnects with transmission lines carrying power from Shasta Dam and Keswick Dam.

;Connecting wires to Path 15 - Olinda to TracyFrom Olinda Substation, the WAPA 500 kV continues as a single-circuit line, although the tower structures change (see photos below) to a two-level pylon. The line proceeds south and then southeast along the western edge of the Sacramento Valley. It parallels Interstate 5 (about four miles (6.5 km) to the west) on its way south, although it's barely visible. It also parallels two 230-kV Pacific Gas & Electric lines for much of this segment and another WAPA 230 kV line. There is a series capacitor station near Maxwell in Colusa County to boost the line across the long Olinda-Tracy segment.

The line crosses the two separated PG&E 500-kV lines, near Woodland and Rio Vista. Near Antioch the line turns and runs parallel with the two PG&E 500 kV lines. All three lines cross both the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers on very large pylons. The WAPA line turns away from the PG&E lines and heads for another large substation near Tracy.

;Connecting wires to Path 15 - Tracy to intersection with PG&E wireFrom Tracy Substation, the line again to a rare, tall, dual-circuit 500 kV line suspended by a three-level pylon located in the San Joaquin Valley. The line terminates where it intersects with one of the two PG&E 500 kV lines as the PG&E heads south from the Tesla substation towards Los Banos Substation. The PG&E line that the dual-circuit line intersects used to be a second Los Banos-Tesla power line that was split apart. A PG&E tower was removed, although the foundation for the tower is still visible. New towers were built to accompany the line changes. One circuit turns north back into Tesla Substation, effectively linking the Tracy Substation with the Tesla Substation. The other circuit turns south to head for the Los Banos Substation as a southern extension of the third 500 kV line.

;Path 66 - Malin to Round MountainThe other two 500 kV lines start in the Malin substation to the east of the Captain Jack substation. One circuit of a rare, tall BPA dual-circuit and one single-circuit 500 kV line connect Captain Jack substation with Malin substation. The PG&E and PacifiCorp 500 kV line both head south together across the Modoc Plateau, generally following the lone WAPA line at a distance. The parallel lines then turn southwestward climb to about 5,400 feet (1,645 m), before descending and turning south once again. Both lines enter the Round Mountain substation. This is the terminus of the Path 66 portion of the parallel 500 kV wires.


;Path 66WAPA line (North to South)
*Captain Jack
*OlindaPG&E and PacifiCorp
*Round Mountain;Connecting power line
*Series capacitator station in Colusa County

Other information

;Power transmission capacityPath 66 can transmit 4,800 MW of electrical power from north to south. From south to north, the system can transmit only 3,675 MW of power.;Environmental impactsThe northern part of this electrical transmission corridor (including Path 15) is visible from space and Google Earth as lines of bare, treeless ground. This is because the power lines here run through forests of conifer trees which appear dark green-green from space. The land through here has been logged and sometimes clear-cut to create a right-of-way for the power lines due to the fact that a wildfire could start when an electrical arc and/or discharge occurs between the wires and a tree if they come close enough to each other. [Cite web|title=Trees and Power Lines|url=|publisher=Western Area Power Administration|accessdate=2007-09-20]

Tower design and differences

This WAPA 500 kV power line, unlike its PG&E counterparts, is triple-bundled, mean that it has three-wires per phase, whereas the PG&E lines is only double-bundled, or two wires per phase. In addition, the tower's design is strikingly different from the lighter, wider, but structurally thinner PG&E wires and the design also changes significantly as one goes from north to south on WAPA's Convert|346|mi|km|0|abbr=on 500 kV line.

The WAPA line changes design at the Olinda substation from the .

As for the pylons of the PG&E and PacifiCorp Round Mountain-Malin parallel lines, the PG&E line uses the same tower type as the PG&E Table Mountain-Round Mountain 500 kV segment does. The PacifiCorp 500 kV line uses a pylon that looks similar to the pylon used in WAPA's Olinda-Captain Jack segment.

;Visual reference


Since WAPA's Captain Jack-Olinda 500 kV wire rises to almost Convert|6000|ft|m|-2 as the line crosses the rugged mountains near Grizzly Peak, that section of 500 kV line is bedecked with copious amounts of snow during the winter. Despite its location far from the Pacific Ocean, Convert|20|ft|m|0 of snow can accumulate near Grizzly Peak's Convert|6250|ft|m|0-summit. The extreme snowfall there can cause ice and snow to accumulate on the insulators and the wires and sometimes lead to power outages when the wires snap in these extreme conditions.Cite web|title=Calif. snow gets SN crew out to repair line|url=|publisher=Western Area Power Administration|accessdate=2007-09-20|abbr=on|abbr=on|abbr=on] This high-elevation segment of 500 kV line is also said to be problematic.


ee also

*California-Oregon Transmission Project


External links

* []

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