A plan for 350-450 MW of new wind power development in north-central Oregon is being hatched by local power company Portland General Electric (PGE) and Orion Energy of California. If the Oregon Public Utility Commission approves the plan for Sherman County, the project will be one of the largest concentrations of wind generation in the US. "This site holds a lot of promise, but it is important to note that the construction planning is at an early stage," says PGE's Jim Lobdell. "If the economics of developing the project continue to pencil out, our plan is to develop the site in phases." The first of three phases, at 126 MW, could be completed as early as the end of 2007, provided wind turbines are available and regulatory approval falls into place. The entire project has a five-year timeframe. Under the plan, PGE is to hold wind power development rights with two dozen private landowners for a term of 30 years or more. Orion Energy has been working with local representatives of the landowners to develop and execute the wind easements. Engineering and construction expertise for the transmission infrastructure and grid connection is being provided by the Bonneville Power Administration. PGE offers customers the option to sign up for more renewable energy than available in the standard mix and is among the US leaders for residential renewable energy sales. At the end of 2005, more than 40,000 PGE residential and commercial customers participated in one of the company's three retail renewable power options, a 21% increase throughout the year and an eightfold increase since 2001.
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