TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY
FOR 70,000 HOMES
In a stunning and timely action, PacifiCorp Power Marketing announced the purchase of the entire output of the proposed 300 megawatt Stateline wind energy project to be built next year in Walla Walla County, WA, and Umatilla County, Oregon. When completed, the Stateline project will serve over 70,000 households.
The region’s leading renewable advocacy organization responded to the news jubilantly.
"This is a substantial, meaningful action that demonstrates PacifiCorp’s commitment to clean energy," said Rachel Shimshak, director of the Renewable Northwest Project (RNP). "At a time when power prices are skyrocketing in the wholesale market and the region is short of power, it is a smart business decision to go with stable-priced, indigenous renewable resources," she added.
“What you’re getting here is a signal from one of the most significant participants in the commercial market that wind power is ready for prime time, that it’s marketable and profitable,” said Ralph Cavanagh, energy resources director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It used to be exotic, an alternative.”
PacifiCorp has played a key role in the region’s development of new renewable resources. They were initial sponsors of the successful Wyoming wind project, they have pledged to acquire 50 megawatts of new renewables (in addition to Stateline) to satisfy a PacifiCorp/Scottish Power merger agreement, and they are offering their retail customers the opportunity to choose a wind product directly.
"Through this wind power purchase, PacifiCorp will help fight global warming by helping the electricity system avoid emitting over 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year," said Peter West, assistant director of RNP. Carbon dioxide is the chief contributor to global warming in the U.S. "It would require more than 200,000 acres of trees to have the same global warming benefit as this wind plant," added West.
The project will have environmental and economic development benefits for eastern Washington and Oregon. It will contribute to the tax base, and also financially benefit farmers on whose land the turbines are built. The project has the support of the local community, including the Blue Mountain Audubon Chapter.
Stateline is being developed by FPL Energy. It has already received the necessary permits from Walla Walla County, and is applying to the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Council for its permit in Oregon. If all permits are granted, it will be the largest single project in the Northwest and the country.
From the base to the tip of the blade, the towers will stand 80 yards high and will be placed on leased farm land. The turbines will consist of three blades more than 25 yards long.
Rachel Shimshak, director of the Renewable Northwest Project, an advocacy group for the development of environmentally friendly power plants, said the this Wind Farm project and others have built credibility for wind power. That has allowed developers to begin exploring bigger projects. "We can play with the big boys," Shimshak said. "Most people have been doing 'onesies and twosies.' For PacifiCorp to step in and do 300 megawatts, that's a big deal."
At 300 megawatts, the Stateline Wind Generating Project will provide a needed boost of clean, renewable electricity to the energy-starved West. When fully operational, more than 450 wind turbines will produce electricity to serve the energy needs of some 70,000 homes annually, enough energy for about one-third of the residential customers in Portland, Oregon. Today's announcement makes PPM the leading supplier of renewable resources in the Pacific Northwest.
"The Stateline project is just the sort of sustainable solution we need for the region's energy shortage," said Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. "The project has the added benefit that it can be brought on quickly to meet our immediate needs. I commend the companies for their foresight and pledge our state will provide a timely review of the project."
"This is a great example of how alternative energy sources can benefit the Northwest," said Washington Governor Gary Locke. "This facility will help meet the increasing demand for electricity in our region while providing economic development to eastern Washington. Wind powered energy is both cost-competitive with gas, and friendlier to the environment. This is exactly the sort of innovation we need in the Pacific Northwest today."
FPL Energy is the largest developer and operator of wind energy facilities in the nation with more than 1,000 megawatts of wind turbines in operation or construction in seven states. The company owns and operates the 24.9-megawatt Vansycle Wind Facility adjacent to the Stateline site. FPL Energy plans to add an additional 500-1,000 megawatts of wind energy to its portfolio.
"This is wind power on a grand scale," said Terry Hudgens, PPM president. "Stateline is a watershed event for our company and for the region. With Stateline, wind is no longer just a small niche in our supply, but has taken a position as a very real and significant part of the new electric resources the region badly needs."
"The Stateline Project fortifies FPL Energy's position as the leading developer of clean, renewable wind power in the country," said Lew Hay, President of FPL Energy. "We are excited about working with PPM to provide new sources of electricity for the Pacific Northwest."
"It's a spectacular breakthrough for Northwest wind power and cause for celebration among friends of sustainable energy development everywhere," said Ralph Cavanagh, Natural Resources Defense Council.
"This is a substantial, meaningful action that demonstrates PPM and FPL Energy's commitment to clean energy," said Rachel Shimshak, director of the Renewable Northwest Project. "At a time when power prices are skyrocketing in the wholesale market and the region is short of power, it is a smart business decision to go with stable-priced, indigenous renewable resources."
Throughout the West, severe shortages of electricity have led authorities to call for stepped-up construction of new power plants. Even the speediest construction of conventional fossil plants takes years to bring on line. Most of the Stateline Project will be generating this year, helping to ease shortages.
PPM will take delivery of raw wind power at the project and shape it into green energy products and market them throughout the West. Wind energy will be delivered to the grid via Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and PacifiCorp transmission lines.
Through proposed agreements, BPA and other utilities will supply hydropower resources to PPM to "shape" the variable wind energy, thereby creating a variety of energy products that can be used reliably by end-use customers. PPM is also in discussions with BPA to purchase up to 40 percent of Stateline's output on behalf of BPA customers.
The Stateline Project will be developed on both sides of the Washington-Oregon border. The Walla Walla Planning Commission on November 15, 2000, approved permitting for the Washington portion following a rigorous review process and full Environmental Impact Study, which included thorough avian, botanical and cultural resource studies. Additional spring and fall night bird migration studies will be conducted to determine location of some turbines. Once in operation, the project will monitor avian and bat impact though a program approved and periodically reviewed by a technical advisory committee consisting of scientists, representatives of government agencies, local landowners, environmentalists and FPL Energy.
FPL Energy has purchased the generating equipment for February construction. Permit applications will be filed with the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Council in January. The company will be prepared to begin construction on the Oregon portion of the facility following Siting Council review and approval.
Stateline will be an economic boost to rural Washington and Oregon. Located principally on private farmland, the project will provide income to farmers while leaving land available for crops. It is estimated the project will add millions in revenue to the local economy and create an average of 150 construction jobs with a peak need of 350 workers.
PacifiCorp serves 1.5 million customers with electricity in six western states. PacifiCorp Power Marketing is a non-regulated subsidiary of PacifiCorp that develops and markets energy in the West and is jointly constructing a 500-megawatt gas turbine cogeneration project with the City of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Information is available about PPM at www.pacificorp.com and www.klamathcogen.com.
FPL Group, with annual revenues of more than $6 billion, is one of the nation's largest providers of electricity-related services. Its principal subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company, serves 3.9 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, FPL Group's independent power production subsidiary, is a leader in generating electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Information is available on the Internet at www.fplgroup.com, www.fpl.com and www.fplenergy.com.
The proposed 300-MW Stateline Wind Project, planned for the Oregon-Washington boundary by FPL Vansycle LLC, has received a conditional use permit from the Walla Walla (Wash.) County Planning Commission, according to the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin newspaper.
The $300-million project will consist of 450 turbines in all, with 255 machines in Washington and 151 in Oregon. According to the article, the developer still needs to obtain sign-offs from other governmental bodies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (for an underground transmission line), the Washington State Department of Ecology (for erosion control), and the Federal Aviation Agency (for safety of air traffic).
The Planning Commission also is requiring, as a permit condition, some avian monitoring along bird migration routes prior to construction of some portions of the project, the article said.
The Stateline project is currently the world's largest proposed wind plant.
Written by: Renewable Northwest Project
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