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Oregon wind farm plans hanging on Production Tax Credit renewal
1 May 2001
The fate of wind's federal Production Tax Credit, due for expiry December 31 if it is not renewed, is becoming critical for an increasing number of wind developments. In one of the latest, consulting firm JP Sayler & Associates has secured 1600 acres (650 hectares) of land for a 50-100 MW wind farm at Cape Blanco on the southern Oregon coast; environmental impact studies are underway and the application is in the midst of permitting. Much of the required due diligence is now complete, including confirming past wind speed studies -- some of which, from the 1980s, overestimated wind speed by 1 m/s, says the firm's John Sayler. The company has responded to a solicitation from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) for 1000 MW of wind energy (Windpower Monthly, March 2001). It is also in discussions with potential partners and has narrowed the turbine selection down to two. "Our power purchase is now predicated on whether the Production Tax Credit is extended," Sayler says. He adds that the wind farm will fit well into the BPA transmission grid, requiring only a substation at the interconnection point. He has already begun talks with the local Coos Curry Electric Co-operative, one of BPA's customers. JP Sayler & Associates generally works the early development stages of a wind project and sells it to a developer, something it did for a 10 MW project at Cabazon, California, in 1988 and an early 1990's 54 MW project at Cerro Gordo in northern Iowa, according to Sayler. Wind turbines have been absent from Oregon's coast for more than a decade since the Whiskey Run plant of 50 kW ESI turbines north of Cape Blanco stopped producing energy.
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