Boost for Northwest Renewable Energy Demand

In what is one of the largest requests for renewable energy projects from an investor-owned utility, PacifiCorp announced it is seeking up to 1,100 MW of new renewable resources in the next seven years, after receiving final regulatory approval to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP). PacifiCorp serves six western states as Pacific Power and Utah Power.

Oregon, Washington – February 6, 2004 [] The company’s “Renewable Resource Request for Proposals,” or RFP 2003B, is a consequence of the utility’s integrated resource planning process, a 10-year plan that aims to ensure safe, reliable, low-cost energy for Pacific Power and Utah Power customers. Oregon regulators this week provided the last of six different state reviews of the company’s plan, allowing the RFP process to proceed. Rachel Shimshak, executive director of the Renewable Northwest Project, describes PacifiCorp’s RFP as, “among the largest drivers for renewables in the region. This RFP has been widely anticipated and PacifiCorp should be commended for a thorough plan that will bring significant new renewable resources to the region.” Renewable Northwest Project is a regional non-profit that promotes renewable energy in the four Northwest states. In Oregon, Washington and northern California, PacifiCorp’s RFP seeks 100 MW by 2005, 200 MW by 2007 and an additional 200 MW by 2009. In Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, PacifiCorp wants to acquire 200 MW in each of 2006, 2008 and 2010. “This is a positive development in our plan to acquire more renewable generation,” said Stan Watters, senior vice president, PacifiCorp. “Our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) demonstrates that we need a significant amount of new resources to meet rapidly growing demand. Building a diverse, low-cost and low-risk energy portfolio that includes large amounts of renewables will allow us to meet demand and provide the best value for customers.” In the next 10 years, PacifiCorp’s IRP calls for bringing up to 1,400 MW of renewable generation into PacifiCorp’s resource portfolio. Projected load growth indicates a need for about 4,000 additional MW of capacity between 2004 and 2013. This growth includes additional energy needs of current customers, requirements for new customers and potential increased requirements for supply reserves. PacifiCorp’s IRP provides a diversified resource approach incorporating both reduced energy use through demand-side management as well as new resources. New resources include renewables such as wind and geothermal, and thermal resources such as natural gas and coal. Together, these resources are expected to provide low-cost, low-risk and highly reliable sources of energy for customers while balancing social and environmental needs. The IRP examines expected load and resource balance over the next 20 years, and proposes an action plan for acquiring resources within the coming five years. It is re-examined every two years. “This request for proposals is an extension of the company’s growing use of renewable resources,” Watters said. “For example, we are pleased to have played a key role in bringing the new 41-megawatt Eurus Combine Hills wind farm online last December in Oregon. We’re also proud of our wind power purchases in Wyoming, as well as our customers’ support of wind energy through our voluntary Blue Sky program.” Through the RFP, PacifiCorp is requesting that bidders with wind projects submit bids with and without the federal production tax credit in case Congress fails to renew the incentive, which expired Dec. 31, 2003. While PacifiCorp expects most of the proposals to be for wind-generated electricity, eligible renewables include geothermal, solar, biomass, digester and landfill gas, and hydro located outside of protected areas.
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