A 150 megawatt windfarm will be built in Washington state to serve 36,000 homes in the U.S. northwest.
PORTLAND, Oregon, US, 2001-05-07 <SolarAccess.com> Bonneville Power Administration and Washington Winds Inc. will develop and build the facility near Prosser, in Benton and Yakima counties. BPA will prepare an environmental impact statement, while Washington Winds will secure the necessary permits. Public involvement will begin this June. “This is one of several wind projects BPA is looking to acquire,” said acting administrator Steve Wright. “Harvesting the strong, steady winds of the Columbia River Basin works especially well with our hydro power base. When the winds blow, we can save more water in reservoirs. When the winds are still, we can release the river’s power. Wind farms add to our local renewable resources.” BPA will purchase 150 MW from the facility for 20 years, with an option for another 250 MW if siting and environmental reviews prove successful. The first turbines could begin generating electricity by late next year. Power would be integrated into the BPA power lines that already cross the project site. “The Maiden Wind Farm will help alleviate the current energy crisis and provide clean, renewable energy for Washington,” says Govenor Gary Locke. “Because a portion of the project is located on state land, it also will help fund our schools. It’s a double win for Washington.” “We are excited about the opportunity to bring a world class wind ranch to the Pacific Northwest and provide clean, low-cost, renewable energy to enhance our quality of life which we have come to expect,” says Rick Koebbe, president of Washington Winds. “Wind power finally has traction in the Northwest,” adds Angus Duncan, president of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. “Today’s announcement affirms that wind will be supplying several thousand megawatts of clean electricity to our region within the next few years. BPA deserves credit for realizing this potential sooner than almost any other regional player.” The project will create 100 construction jobs. “This project will help build local infrastructure and expertise to enable the development of thousands of megawatts of wind generation in smaller-scale installations throughout the region,” adds Heather Rhoads-Weaver of Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development. “Mid-Columbia may well become the hub for construction, operations and maintenance of satellite wind turbines across the Pacific Northwest.” Washington Winds is a subsidiary of Pacific Winds of Boise, Idaho. The company owns and operates 900 wind turbines in California. BPA is a Portland agency that markets electricity from 29 federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. It generates 70 percent of the region’s electricity from hydro dams but has been forced to reduce output from dams as a result of droughts.