Wind News Oregon utility in talks to buy 500MW wind project
Northern Oregon is the center of an explosion in wind energy developments
Oregon utility Portland General Electric Company is in the frame to buy a large wind project in development in the north of the state.
It is in talks with wind developer Renewable Energy Systems Americas, Inc., with regard to the Rock Creek Wind Farm being planned for a site in Gilliam County.
Portland-based PGE has exclusive rights to purchase the project, an agreement that runs out at the end of 2010.
It is now seeking permission from state regulators to waive the usual requirements for utilities to undertake a full competitive bidding process when seeking electricity contracts, stating that the length of its exclusive purchase rights agreement would not allow enough time.
The Rock Creek project proposes to establish between 400 and 500 megawatts of generating capacity on leased land south of Arlington and north of Condon.
Though the land would still be available for agriculture and other uses, the wind farm could spread across as much as 68,000 acres.
Colorado-based RES Americas believes construction could begin as early as 2013, but is more likely to occur in phases beginning in 2014 or 2015.
“We’re going to need significant new renewable generating resources in coming years as we work to meet Oregon’s renewable energy standards,” said Jim Lobdell, PGE vice president for power operations and resource strategy.
“Good renewable sites are highly sought after, so we are pleased to have reached preliminary agreement on certain terms with RES Americas and look forward to working with them in the coming months to see if we can arrive at a final agreement that serves our customers’ best interests.”
The area around Gilliam County is already home to various wind projects, including the $2 billion Shepherds Flat Wind Farm, subject of a dispute with the military until earlier this year (see this BrighterEnergy.org story).
PGE has filed its request for permission to skip a competitive bidding process with the Oregon Public Utility Commission. It has also filed the terms of its preliminary agreement in regard to the wind farm, though these are expected to remain confidential until an agreement is signed.
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