BPA catching up on wind power integration
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
BPA is working on building out its transmission network to better integrate wind energy, even as new wind development may be slowing in the region.
Groundbreaking this week on a $185 million high-voltage power line is part of an increased push by the Bonneville Power Administration to integrate wind power in the Northwest — even as new signals are emerging that wind power development might be slowing in the region.
The 28-mile Big Eddy-Knight Line that kicked off this week, slated to connect The Dalles to a new substation near Goldendale, Wash., is one of six major power transmission projects intended to meet new transmission demands in the Northwest, in large part to accommodate wind.
Of the six, one is slowing as energy developers call for changes that may be early signs of a decline in new wind farm development.
BPA officials say its active projects are part of an ongoing strategy to meet power transmission needs, particularly as wind power increases demands. BPA has approximately 3,500 megawatts of wind capacity on its system today and anticipates having between 6,000 and 7,000 by 2013.
The effort to plan for that increase — and a variety of other drivers boosting transmission needs — has ticked along at BPA since 2008, when the agency first convened its Network Open Season process, the agency's method of tracking and responding to transmission requests.
"Network Open Season kind of came about as a means to get our arms around who really wanted transmission service right now. As I remember, back in 2008, we knew wind would be a big part of that," said Doug Johnson, BPA spokesperson.
The project gauged transmission needs by collecting financial commitments toward requested service, called Precedent Transmission Service Agreements, from energy developers. BPA began the inquiry with roughly 500 megawatts of wind capacity online with goals of planning for 6,000 megawatts of wind in 2020.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
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