Transmission Upgrade Propels 150 MW Wind Energy Project

Many of the best wind resources are not always located near power transmission lines and this factor can stifle many a prospective wind project development. The completion of new transmission investments in the Northwest US will help propel a new large wind power project.

This week, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) completed construction of the $5 million Tucannon River Substation, which will transmit power from Puget Sound Energy’s Hopkins Ridge Wind Energy Project to Puget’s customers in western and central Washington. The 83-turbine project is expected to generate 50 average MW, enough energy to serve 50,000 homes. “BPA is using its region-wide transmission system to bring power from wind farms to consumers in population centers,” said Steve Wright, BPA administrator. “This usually involves construction of new facilities like the Tucannon River Substation. Without efficient, reliable transmission, we wouldn’t be able to reap energy from the wind.” To connect the project to the grid, BPA constructed the new 115-kV Tucannon River switching station near Dayton, adjacent to BPA’s Walla Walla-North Lewiston 115-kV transmission line. Power is expected to start flowing this week from the new Hopkins Ridge Collector substation and the Tucannon River Substation. “The remote location of this wind farm posed several challenges both in integrating the project into the Tucannon facility and wheeling power,” said Tony Rodrigues, BPA’s transmission account executive, who oversees generation interconnection. “This is a good example of excellent cooperation between BPA and Puget Sound Energy to get the job done.” Blue Sky Wind LLC, builder of the Hopkins Ridge Wind Energy Project in Columbia County, Washington, is installing one turbine a day and is on schedule to complete the project this fall with commercial operation under way by year-end. BPA is also working on 10 new projects from wind developers to integrate about 1,200 MW into the Northwest grid by the end of 2007.
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