In a departure from the usual practice in America of wind companies responding to utility requests for new generation, the US renewable energy division of Spanish utility Iberdrola is inviting bids for the output of three wind farms it plans to build: Farmers City, anticipated at 144 MW in Missouri; Streator Cayuga Ridge South, anticipated at 300 MW in Illinois; and Rugby Wind, anticipated at 149 MW in North Dakota. The approach allows utilities to compete for power purchase agreements (PPAs) for wind projects in their region. The concept also allows Iberdrola Renewables to find new, and often smaller, customers. "Typically, most of our sales are quite large," says Iberdrola's Anita Marks. "This could give us a way to look at some of the smaller entities, like public utility districts or co-operatives, that we might not normally get in contact with." The idea of reversing the tables on utilities is one used effectively by Iberdrola Renewables' forerunner, PPM Energy, and used effectively with its natural gas storage business, Enstor, which would bid out to utilities its gas storage contracts. PPM was acquired by Iberdrola last year. All three wind projects are in advanced stages of permitting and will be built in phases or in their entirety based in part on the response to Iberdrola's request for proposals, which had a deadline of June 26. Selected parties will be contacted to negotiate contract specifics early this month. The contracts are standard long term PPAs.
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