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Aiming for wind and hydro packages -- Stateline 300 MW ready to build

Output from the 300 MW "Stateline" wind plant to be built this year on the Washington-Oregon border might be combined with hydropower, one of the Northwest's most abundant and lowest priced renewables, to provide a controllable power supply. PacifiCorp Power Marketing, which has signed a power purchase agreement for the entire output of FPL Energy's project, plans to package it into a variety of green energy products to sell to Northwest utilities and businesses.

Output from the 300 MW wind plant to be built this year on the Washington-Oregon border, dubbed the "Stateline" wind farm by its developer, might be combined with hydropower, one of the Northwest's most abundant and lowest priced renewables, to provide a controllable power supply. PacifiCorp Power Marketing (PPM), which has signed a power purchase agreement for the entire output of FPL Energy's project, plans to package it into a variety of green energy products to sell to Northwest utilities and businesses.

According to PPM's Dave Kvamme, the power marketer has yet to sign contracts with potential buyers of the wind farm's output -- although the Bonneville Power Administration could buy as much as 40%. It is also possible that some output could go to Seattle City and Light, which put out a tender for 100 MW of renewable resources last year (Windpower Monthly, November 2000). How the green product is shaped, Kvamme says, will be up to customers.

"Some of our customers will be looking for a product that is made up only of wind," Kvamme says. "However, many others will be looking for a more complete product. Some of those will care that the wind product is shaped by hydro and others will be concerned only with cost."

Construction stage

The power purchase agreement pushes the project into construction stage this month on the Washington side of Vansycle Ridge, which spans the border into Oregon. All 200 MW of 660 kW Vestas turbines are scheduled to be on-line by the end of the year, the deadline to receive federal energy production tax credits. Erection will be delayed for 72 of the turbines, however, which are to be sited at the edge of the Columbia River near three National Wildlife refuges, home to pelicans, geese, ducks and other migrating birds (Windpower Monthly, January 2001). Although environmental and bird studies had previously cleared the project to go ahead, further monitoring will be carried out through the autumn following a request from the Audubon Society. FPL says there is still a possibility the 72 turbines can be on-line by the end of the year.

The more than 150 turbines to be built in Oregon must wait for approval by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council, with a go-ahead expected within the first half of 2001.

Smart business

Northwest renewables advocates are praising PPM for its role in moving the project forward. "This is a substantial, meaningful action that demonstrates PacifiCorp's commitment to clean energy," says Rachel Shimshack 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."

PPM is a non-regulated subsidiary of PacifiCorp that develops and markets energy throughout the West. PacifiCorp is one of the major owners of the 85 MW Foote Creek wind project in Wyoming. As a result of a merger with Scottish Power of the United Kingdom, PacifiCorp is committed to developing another 50 MW of renewable energy in addition to the Stateline project. FPL, which has already developed a 25 MW project on the Oregon side of Vansycle Ridge, claims that its Stateline plant is the largest single wind power development in the US.

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