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Economic and dam related articles

Balance of Power

by Shannon Wells
The Gresham Outlook, August 25, 2009

Troutdale meter installation aims to better integrate wind, hydropower sources

Compared to the imposing coils, cables and transformers at the Bonneville Power substation, the plastic, propeller-affixed anemometer looks like a child's toy.

Despite its lightweight appearance, however, the mini-torpedo-like instrument will play a key role in the development of efficient wind-generated power in the Pacific Northwest.

The first of 14 anemometers the Bonneville Power Administration is installing in and around the Columbia River Gorge was affixed to a 100-foot tower at the Troutdale substation on Sundial Road on Wednesday morning, Aug. 19. With its location at the mouth of the gorge - a prime spot for the fierce East Wind - BPA officials determined the site was ideally suited for wind measurement.

Another 13 anemometers will be installed on towers in locales including Hood River, Shaniko, and Sunnyside and Horse Heaven, Wash., by October. The instruments will serve on the front lines of a complex wind forecasting system expected to be in place by September 2010, said Katie Pruder, Bonneville Power spokeswoman.

"The forecasters can have screens right there on their desk and have real-time wind generation and next-hour wind forecasts," she noted. "They can see the wind being generated in real time."

The anemometer-generated data will be recorded and analyzed at Bonneville's dispatch centers at Vancouver and Dittmer, Wash. It will be shared with the seven wind-power enterprises from which the non-profit BPA purchases power. The wind providers sell power generated from wind-turbine farms, located mostly toward eastern Oregon, that have become increasingly common in the past 10 years or so.

Shannon Wells
Balance of Power
The Gresham Outlook, August 25, 2009

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