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Push in Pacific Northwest

Renewable energy is taking a step forward in the Pacific Northwest -- a significant coalition of environmental groups and energy developers has announced a project to promote renewables in the region.

The Renewable Northwest Project (RNP) was announced March 9. The Northwest is perhaps the leading region for wind growth potential in the US after California, with a number of projects now in the offing. RNP will participate in key regulatory proceedings to promote the group's goals, lobby government decision-makers, and seek to implement the Regional Power and Conservation Act, which calls for conservation and renewables. RNP is a project of the Northwest Conservation Act Coalition. "It's significant because the environmental community is going to weigh in now in a serious way to advocate for renewables in the Northwest," says Bob Kahn of the American Wind Energy Association. AWEA is a member along with Kenetech Windpower, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defence Council. "It will be a very polished but aggressive voice for wind energy," he says.

Key developmental factors associated with integrating wind as a utility-grade supply resource in the Pacific Northwest are also considered in a new report by the Electric Power Research Institute. Capacity concerns, integration impacts, representation of wind in utility planning contexts, performing a busbar levelised cost analysis, load/resource evaluation, integrated resource planning, and detailed system simulation are considered. Key wind resource issues are also evaluated such as modularity, short lead time, stability of variable costs, environmental cost and benefits, transmission requirements and impacts, and potential resource synergies.

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