Seattle Mayor Paul Schell today announced his proposal for Seattle to become the largest purchaser of wind power by a public utility in the nation.
Mayor Schell submitted an ordinance to the City Council that would authorize a transaction with PacifiCorp Power Marketing, Inc. (PPM) for energy from the world’s largest wind farm – the State Line Wind Generating Plant on the Washington-Oregon border near Walla Walla, Wash.
“With this wind purchase, Seattle will be on the forefront of renewable energy in the nation and the world,” Schell said. “From the Cedar River Watershed to the Kyoto Protocol, Seattle continues to show its leadership on environmental issues.”
“This wind purchase will give Seattle a high-quality renewable resource, encourage economic development in Eastern Washington and provide financial incentives for further new wind resource development,” Schell said.
The ordinance authorizes City Light to begin purchasing power from the State Line Wind Generating Plant. The utility would acquire the energy generated from 50 megawatts of installed capacity beginning Jan. 1, 2002, increasing to 100 megawatts in August 2002 and possibly to 175 megawatts by August 2004.
On average, a wind turbine delivers about one-third of its energy capacity. Therefore, 175 megawatts of capacity translates into about 60 average megawatts of energy. One megawatt is enough to power about 1,000 typical single-family homes.
“This is a great opportunity for our utility,” said City Councilmember Heidi Wills, chair of the Council’s Energy and Environmental Policy Committee. “Wind power diversifies our energy portfolio and gives us another clean, efficient renewable resource to complement our hydroelectric power.”
Schell also emphasized that City Light’s commitment to an additional 75 megawatts from wind after 2002 will provide an economic incentive for further development of wind power, either at the State Line project or elsewhere.
“This purchase is in line with two very important long-range city goals: providing electricity for Seattle without air pollution, and using conservation and renewable resources to meet as much of our energy demands as possible,” Schell said.
The 262-megawatt State Line Wind Generating Plant is now under construction in Walla Walla County, Wash., and Umatilla County, Ore. When completed in January 2002, it will be the West’s largest single wind energy development, with about 400 turbines. FPL Energy is building and will own and operate the wind farm. PacifiCorp Power Marketing Inc. of Portland owns the output and is marketing it throughout the West.
“There’s a bright future for renewable wind energy in the Northwest,” said Peter Van Alderwerlt, PPM vice president for business development. “The region’s plentiful wind resources are complimented by hydro resources, and in combination, both operate better when used to serve customers.”
Seattle will receive power from State Line for 20 years under the proposed agreement with PPM. The price for the energy generated in January, including the costs the utility will incur to store the intermittent wind energy and deliver it as a firm energy product, will be less than 5 cents per kilowatt hour and is comparable to costs for electricity generated by natural-gas-powered turbines.
Rachel Shimshak, director of the Renewables Northwest Project, emphasized the importance of the contracts: “Both the power purchase contract and the integration and exchange agreements do more than provide long-term contracts for wind resources. They also demonstrate that wind is clearly competitive, provide strong incentives to leverage future wind resource development, and inform regional discussions as to the costs of turning the intermittent wind resource into a firm, more practicably usable product.”
“The energy from State Line moves us more than half way to our goal of obtaining 100 average megawatts from new renewable resources by 2011,” Schell said.
Van Alderwerelt said that a significant amount of the new resources needed meet the region’s energy needs will come from renewable sources. PPM is the Northwest’s leading supplier of renewable energy resources and is working to further expand wind sites for the region.
City of Seattle Contacts:
Roger Nyhus, Mayor's Office, 206.694.8358, email
Dan Williams, Seattle City Light, 206.615.0978, email
Dave Kvamme, PacifiCorp Power Marketing, 503.813.7279
Councilmember Wills ~ Riding the Wind