PSE Purchases Full Control
In a sign of its continued commitment to wind power, Puget Sound Energy (NYSE: PSD), the nation's second-largest utility owner of wind energy, has purchased full ownership rights to develop the Lower Snake River Wind Energy Project, which has a potential capacity of up to 1,432 megawatts (MW) of power.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The project, one of the largest wind energy efforts in the nation, was launched as a joint development partnership between PSE and RES Americas Inc. in December 2008 and is now solely owned by PSE.
As sole owner of the Lower Snake River project, PSE will oversee all development, design and construction of the wind facility, as well as its operations when in service. RES Americas will remain part of the utility's team, with responsibility as the project's prime construction contractor. The utility expects initial construction on support infrastructure to begin in 2010, and the first phases to enter commercial energy production in 2011.
A conditional use permit (CUP) application for the project was filed in January 2009 in Garfield County, with a CUP expected to be filed in Columbia County later in 2009. According to the January 2009 CUP application, the Lower Snake River Wind Energy Project will have the capacity to produce as much as 1,432 megawatts (MW) from up to 795 wind turbines when completed.
A draft environmental impact study associated with the permit application for the project is now available for public comment with the planning agencies in Garfield and Columbia counties.
The Lower Snake River Wind Energy Project builds on the utility's experience in Southeast Washington, where its Hopkins Ridge Wind Facility has been in operation since November 2005 outside the Columbia County city of Dayton.
In addition to the Lower Snake River project and Hopkins Ridge Wind Facility, PSE owns and operates the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility in Kittitas County. Concurrent with developing the Lower Snake River project, PSE is adding 44 MW of increased capacity at Wild Horse through an expansion now underway.
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