A U.S. energy agency has been overwhelmed with a response for its search for wind generation proprosals.
PORTLAND, Oregon, US, 2001-04-30 <SolarAccess.com> The Bonneville Power Administration issued a request for proposals from wind power suppliers, and received offers of 2,600 megawatt capacity, which is sufficient to meet the needs of the city of Portland. “The response blew us away,” says BPA’s George Darr. “I thought developers would be far enough along with their projects to submit maybe 1,000 megawatts of projects, but the 25 proposals added up to about 2,600 megawatts.” “If you count the room for expansion included in the proposals, there are over 4,000 megawatts of wind power on these sites,” he adds. “That is astonishing.” Ten of the proposed sites are located in Oregon and another eight in Washington state. The balance are sited in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Canada. BPA will evaluate the projects on cost and grid integrated factors, as well as other considerations such as location, how well they would serve the load and their impact from the intermittent nature. A shortlist by the end of May will allow contact negotiations to start with developers, which will be followed by reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act of environmental impact. Darr hopes the first projects can be online late next year or by early 2003. “I have been convinced that the Pacific Northwest offers the potential for significant wind power generation that could be an effective complement to our hydroelectric system,” says Representative Norm Dicks (D-Wash.). “It is extremely encouraging to see such a large number of creative proposals submitted, and it is my hope that BPA will evaluate them promptly and take advantage of the relatively fast siting capability offered by wind generated power.” “We need more energy generation in the Northwest to help us bring down costs,” adds Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), co-chair of the House Renewable Energy Caucus and the sole Northwest member of the Energy & Commerce Committee. “This is one of the best kinds of energy to bring on line — it’s clean and renewable. And the growth of clean energy production in the rural Northwest will bring vital new revenues and jobs to parts of the region that need an economic boost.” Because wind speed varies, the 2,600 MW capacity of the proposals will translate into 850 average megawatts of power. “The results show the strength and diversity of the wind resource in the Northwest,” says Peter West of the Renewable Northwest Project in Portland. “With the leadership of BPA, the Northwest is poised to be one of the hottest wind sites in the world. This shows how renewable resources will help solve our energy crisis.” The BPA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, and sells electricity generated at 29 federal dams in theColumbia-Snake River Basin in the northwestern U.S., as well as from one nuclear plant.