BPA Awards Nearly $2 M for Renewable Energy R&D

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has awarded nearly $2 million in contracts to research and develop (R&D) ways to help manage the intermittent nature of renewable energy. The research will focus on wind, ocean wave and in-stream tidal technologies.

In December 2006, BPA issued its formal request for proposals (RFP) to the energy industry for technology that can help advance these renewable power initiatives. BPA received 25 project proposals in response to its request; since March, the agency has completed negotiations on eight out of 11 projects that were selected for further negotiation and subsequent funding.

The projects range from wind forecasting tools to wave energy technology to technologies that can harness tidal energy. Many of the responding parties are from the Northwest — a complete list of the contractors is included below. About $2 million will be dedicated to these projects in fiscal year 2007, with the potential for continued funding into future years.

“The existing federal power system uses 31 dams and one nuclear power plant, along with some wind power, to generate emission-free, non-fossil-fuel-based electricity for the Northwest,” BPA Deputy Administrator Steve Hickok said. “Adding renewable wave energy to the mix, with no associated fossil fuel use or emissions, certainly fits well with our federal power supply portfolio and holds promise as our region’s electricity needs continue to grow.”

BPA’s funding of the eight renewable FY 2007 energy R&D projects is based on a BPA Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap that was developed in 2006. The funding comes from BPA’s sales of Environmentally Preferred Power (EPP) and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) to utility customers and power marketers. These sales also generate revenues that are allocated directly to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

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