News: Wind Power

What’s pumped storage got to do with it?

Good renewable energy news: Wind generation in the Northwest grew from almost nothing in 1998, to over 4,700 MW in 2015.

Other news: Bringing the variable nature of wind generation on and off line quickly is a “load balancing” challenge. Hydropower has admirably supported this balancing role, but current facilities to do that are largely maxed out.

As wind and other variable generation resources come on-line, could pumped storage be the load balancing key to maintaining the Northwest’s leadership in clean, renewable energy for years to come?

Click here for presentation provided by FWEE member MWH on just this subject at the international HydroVision Conference held in Portland, OR in July. It does a really good job of explaining the challenge and the opportunity.

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Apple touts Deschutes hydropower in new green energy report

By Mike Rogoway
Oregonian

Apple put the Deschutes River on the cover of its annual environmental responsibility report, highlighting a hydroelectric project it acquired in 2012.

The small facility near Haystack Reservoir won’t come close to meeting the energy demands for Apple’s data center about 25 miles away in Prineville, but the company held it up as an example of the work it’s doing to improve its environmental stewardship.

Apple hadn’t previously discussed its hydro initiative. In Monday’s report, the company says the project is capable of generating 12 million kilowatt-hours of power – perhaps 5 percent of what a fully built data center would require. (Like large solar projects, the Oregon hydro project likely qualifies for tax incentives that Apple can use to offset its federal tax liability.)

Apple says it’s relying on wind energy for nearly all the rest. Like other big tech companies, Apple says it’s committed to fighting climate change by reducing its carbon emissions and relying on renewable energy sources. Read more

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Boeing 737 factory to move to clean energy

By Phuong Le, The Associated Press
Yakima Herald

Boeing said Tuesday it plans to buy renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at the factory where it assembles its 737 commercial airplanes.

The aerospace company and the utility, Puget Sound Energy, said the plan will move the Renton factory near Seattle toward an all-renewable energy mix. Read more

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Oregon Senate passes bill to protect state renewable energy mandates

By: Ted Sikinger
The Oregonian

A bill designed to shield Oregon’s renewable energy mandates from a potentially game-changing ballot measure sailed through the Senate’s Business and Transportation Committee Tuesday, even as opponents called it a back-room deal hatched to benefit industry insiders and ignore average citizens.

Oregon’s renewable energy standard requires “large” utilities to meet 25 percent of demand with renewable power by 2025, and includes lower targets for smaller utilities. The law is one of the defining legacies of former Gov. Ted Kulongoski, and is a darling of environmentalists, renewable developers and even large utilities, who are investing heavily in new wind and solar facilities to meet the requirements.

Backers say the law has been effective at spurring development of clean energy and has created jobs and enhanced tax revenues in the process. Utilities also claim those resources were least-cost choices to meet demand, though they were based on natural gas price forecasts that proved far too high. Read more

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Floating wind farm cleared for Oregon coast

By: Gosia Wozniacka
Associated Press

PORTLAND – A Seattle company is being given the green light to develop plans to build the West Coast’s first offshore wind energy farm – five floating turbines off Oregon’s Coos Bay, federal and state officials said Wednesday.

The 30-megawatt pilot project was announced at a press conference by Gov. John Kitzhaber, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy Beaudreau.

Though offshore wind farms are an expensive source of energy, proponents say they could bring clean, efficient electricity, create new jobs and stimulate the economy.

“It’s not going to be economic out of the gate,” Beaudreau said. But “it’s important for Oregon to be on the edge of what could be a huge industry in the future.” Read more

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Seattle company plans offshore wind-energy farm off Oregon’s Coos Bay

Plans for a wind energy farm off the Oregon coast are to be developed by the Seattle firm Principle Power.

By: Gosia Wozniacka
The Associated Press – The Seattle Times

PORTLAND — A Seattle company is being given the green light to develop plans to build the West Coast’s first offshore wind energy farm — five floating turbines off Oregon’s Coos Bay, federal and state officials said Wednesday.

The 30-megawatt pilot project was announced at a news conference by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy Beaudreau.

Though offshore wind farms are an expensive source of energy, proponents say they could bring clean, efficient electricity, create jobs and stimulate the economy.

“It’s not going to be economic out of the gate,” Beaudreau said. But “it’s important for Oregon to be on the edge of what could be a huge industry in the future.” Read more

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Ballot fight over Oregon renewable energy law could be sparked by small rural utility

By: Jeff Mapes
The Oregonian

Could a small electrical cooperative in eastern Oregon up-end the state’s renewable energy law?

That’s the question being asked as the Umatilla Electric Cooperative essentially tells legislators: Fix the renewable energy standards to satisfy our concerns or we’ll put an initiative on the ballot that largely guts the law.

Steve Eldrige, the co-op’s general manager, portrayed the initiative as the only way Umatilla could get the attention of state lawmakers and big energy players.

“They wouldn’t even talk to us until we started getting the signatures” for a ballot measure, he said.

The initiative would considerably ease renewable energy standards by allowing the region’s massive hydropower dams to count toward meeting the requirements. Read more

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Avista, Inland Power’s results differ with new energy standards

By Becky Kramer
Spokesman Review

Wind turbines spinning on the Palouse are the final piece of Avista Utilities’ strategy to meet Washington’s new renewable energy standards.

Energy from the 58-turbine Palouse Wind farm, which started operations last year, has pushed the Spokane-based utility over the top. Even with future customer growth, Avista officials say they’ve lined up enough qualifying renewable energy to meet Initiative 937’s requirements through 2020. Read more

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Energy Northwest tests wind power storage system

By Shannon Dininny
Associated Press

YAKIMA, Wash. — Researchers in the Pacific Northwest are testing and evaluating a new power storage system that could help store excess electricity generated by the region’s many wind farms.

The system announced Monday at south-central Washington’s Nine Canyon Wind Project includes lithium-ion batteries that can store 500 kilowatt-hours of power – enough energy to meet the demand of about a dozen homes for at least half a day.

That’s a relatively small amount of power compared with the large amount of electricity produced by the region’s growing number of wind turbines. But supporters say it’s a first step toward being able to store renewable energy that is produced when demand is low – say, at night, when most people are sleeping – to be used where it’s most needed during the daytime. Read more

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Portland General Electric plans $1 billion investment in gas plant and wind farm

By Ted Sickinger
The Oregonian

Portland General Electric Co. on Monday announced the front end of a massive capital investment program, unveiling its plan to invest nearly $1 billion in a new gas fired power plant in Central Oregon and a new wind farm in Southeastern Washington. The new resources come on top of a $300 million gas plant the company is building in Clatskanie.

The company also said it had reached a tentative agreement — though no price was attached — to buy up to 1,500 megawatts in transmission capacity from Bonneville Power Administration. That deal would replace PGE’s plan to build its own transmission line across the Cascades, a project that carried a price tag up to $1.2 billion.

Demand for electricity is growing slowly in the Northwest, and the region’s grand plan is meet most demand growth in the next two decades with energy efficiency and conservation measures. Read more

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