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Wind Power Sets New Record

by Staff
BPA Journal, March 2011

Wind generation on BPA's system surpassed a new milestone Feb. 22, reaching a new all-time peak of 3,006 megawatts, producing enough electricity to serve a city three times the size of Seattle for an hour.

The growth of Northwest wind power continues to exceed expectations of just a few short years ago. More than 1,500 megawatts have been added in the last two years. Because BPA owns and operates three-quarters of the Northwest's high-voltage transmission, the agency is playing a vital role in facilitating the development of this renewable energy.

BPA expects to have between 5,000 and 6,000 megawatts of this clean, emission-free, renewable resource connected to its system by 2013, several years ahead of earlier estimates.

The number of wind generation sites contributing to this record now total 35. These wind farms include more than 2,100 turbines primarily located east of the Columbia River Gorge. Even though most of the Northwest's wind power is owned by private developers, they rely on BPA's extensive transmission grid to move that power.

To accommodate 6,000 megawatts or more of wind, BPA is expanding and reinforcing the transmission system to support wind integration. The agency is exploring additional measures to balance wind more effectively and is developing partnerships with other utilities and the wind community to expand wind integration even further.

BPA also is developing a state of the art wind speed and wind generation forecasting system. The new system will forecast more accurately up to three days in advance rather than the previous forecast service that could only provide information one hour ahead. This information will put BPA in a position to make better, more cost-effective system management decisions.

Related Pages:
BPA may Turn Off Unneeded NW Wind Turbines when Power Plentiful by Associated Press, The Republic, 3/11/11

Wind Power Sets New Record
BPA Journal, March 2011

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