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Wind Effort Off to Flying Start

by Staff
BPA Journal, September 1, 2006

Northwest electricity industry leaders met Aug. 24 in Portland to launch a new effort to explore how to integrate large amounts of wind power and other renewable resources into the Pacific Northwest power system while maintaining high overall reliability. BPA and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council convened the effort.

Wind power integration is challenging because it can vary widely in a given period due to the intermittent nature of the resource. Periods of strong production don't always match the periods of peak consumption by electric users. Adding too much of a variable resource to the base load power supply -- hydro dams and coal and natural gas plants -- could reduce the overall reliability of the region's system.

Technical workshops are scheduled throughout the fall to work on this issue further. The region ultimately hopes to have a draft action plan for Northwest wind integration in January 2007. In a meeting earlier in August, the group set up five working committees with 20 proposed tasks for the work plan.

New substations for wind power

In early August, BPA added its third new substation in as many years to handle the rapid continued development of new wind power projects in eastern Washington and Oregon. In the past eight years, nine wind power projects have been connected to the regional grid operated by BPA, and more are on the way.

Jones Canyon Substation near Arlington, Ore., is the latest of three substations that together will handle 550 megawatts of wind projects planned for 2007. The first to hook up through Jones Canyon is PacifiCorp's 110.5-MW Leaning Juniper Wind Farm.

Shepherds Flat Wind Farm Interconnection Project - Gilliam and Morrow Counties, Ore.

Lifeline Renewable Energy, Inc. (Lifeline) requested interconnection of up to 750 megawatts proposed Shepherds Flat Wind Farm that would be located in Gilliam and Morrow Counties, Ore. BPA proposes to interconnect up to 750 MW by expanding the existing Slatt Substation in Gilliam County. A public scoping meeting will be held later this year, possibly in conjunction with the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Council's review of the project. BPA will analyze project impacts in a tiered ROD under the Business Plan EIS. The ROD is scheduled to be completed in 2007. For more information, see BPA's Web site:

Klondike III/Biglow Canyon Wind Integration Project - Sherman County, Ore. BPA has completed the draft EIS considering impacts of requests by PPM Energy Inc. to interconnect 300 megawatts of the output of the proposed Klondike III Wind Project, and by Orion Energy LLC to interconnect 400 MW of the proposed Biglow Canyon Wind Project. Comments were accepted through June 19. BPA plans to issue a final EIS this fall. For more information, see BPA's Web site:

Seven Mile Hill Wind Project - Wasco County, Ore.

UPC Wind Partners, LLC, requested BPA to interconnect 50 megawatts of power it plans to generate from its proposed wind development southwest of The Dalles, Ore. BPA is considering constructing a simple tap to create a three-terminal line within a switchyard beneath BPA's The Dalles-Hood River 115-kilovolt transmission line. UPC would build a 115/34.5-kV substation adjacent to the switchyard but outside the transmission right-of-way. Recent planning changes by the developer suggest new alternatives being explored. These changes may require re-evaluation of the interconnection that BPA would provide. BPA will largely parallel its National Environmental Policy Act review process with the Oregon Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council review of this proposed wind project. UPC plans to start construction in late 2007.

Summer Falls/Main Canal Interconnection Project - Grant and Douglas Counties, Wash.

BPA proposes to interconnect 122 megawatts of generation from Summer Falls and Main Canal hydropower projects to the federal transmission grid. BPA proposes to construct a new 230-kilovolt substation (Pinto Ridge) in Grant County and a new communications site (Banks Lake) in Douglas County to complete the interconnection by 2008. Seattle City Light and Tacoma Power requested the interconnection. They also requested that BPA construct eight miles of new 115-kV transmission line between Main Canal and the new Pinto Ridge Substation, one mile of new 115-kV transmission line between Summer Falls and Pinto Ridge, and their new 115-kV substation adjacent to BPA's proposed substation. Seattle City Light and Tacoma Power would own these facilities. BPA, Seattle and Tacoma plan to work cooperatively to complete a combined state and National Environmental Policy Act process and environmental compliance. A public meeting was held in Coulee City in August. BPA is accepting comments through Sept. 24. For more information, see BPA's Web site:

Windy Point Wind Interconnection - Klickitat County, Wash.

BPA is considering the interconnection of up to 250 megawatts from Windy Point Partners LLC. This wind project would interconnect at the Rock Creek Substation, now under construction. Two groups filed an appeal to the county's SEPA determination and a hearing was held on July 19. A tiered ROD is expected to be released after the appeal process is complete. For more information, see BPA's Web site:

Wind Effort Off to Flying Start
BPA Journal, September 1, 2006

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