Energy NW Seeks to Add
by Mary Hopkin
Energy Northwest has filed paperwork under the State Environmental Policy Act to place up to 25 more wind turbines at its Nine Canyon Wind Project south of the Tri-Cities.
"We are in the permitting phase," said Brad Peck, an Energy Northwest spokesman.
Nine Canyon generates about 20 average megawatts. Energy Northwest, which also operates the Columbia Generating Plant nuclear power plant north of Richland, wants to add up to 25 more wind turbines to boost total output to about 32 average megawatts.
The new turbines would be taller than the existing ones, Peak said, but the difference likely wouldn't be noticeable because of the rolling hills where the Nine Canyon project is located.
The current turbines are about 300 feet from base to the top of the spinning turbines and have a generating capacity of 1.3 megawatts each. The new towers would reach 400 feet into the area, be dispersed throughout the existing project and have a generating capacity of up to 2.3 megawatts each.
Energy Northwest's board of directors approved in April building the third phase.
Energy Northwest officials have applied for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, which are available only through 2007.
Earlier this year, Franklin Public Utility District assumed a 2.01 megawatt share of the Nine Canyon project.
Jean Ryckman, Franklin PUD general manager, said the utility district may be interested in buying some of the wind power.
"We are looking at projected growth and what our needs will be in the future," she said.
Peck said he couldn't give an estimate of what the cost of the project will be, because it is currently out for bid. He said high worldwide demand for the wind turbines makes it extremely difficult to obtain, but one of the companies that is bidding on the project has a dozen turbines available.
He said construction should begin early next year.
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