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Iberdrola, BPA in Pilot Project for Wind Backup

by Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon, September 22, 2010

Iberdrola Renewables, the Bonneville Power Administration, Constellation Energy Control & Dispatch, and software provider Versify Solutions announced Wednesday the launch of a new pilot program that aims to give renewable power generators more flexibility when it comes to backup power for intermittent resources such as wind power.

More than 3,000 megawatts of wind power - almost three times Seattle's average power use - are connected to BPA's transmission system. Because the wind doesn't always blow, wind energy must be backed up by BPA's hydropower resources - an arrangement that has proved costly and threatens to max out BPA's hydro capacity.

The pilot project will allow companies such as Portland-based Iberdrola, the second-largest wind power operator in the U.S., the flexibility to provide its own backup power.

"This just puts a lot more flexibility into the system," said Iberdrola spokeswoman Jan Johnson. "And it should hold down cost."

Iberdrola plans to use power from its 600-megawatt natural gas-fired plants in Klamath Falls as backup, along with electric generation contracts with Grant County Public Utility District for hydropower and TransAlta for coal power.

"This is a promising addition to the tools we're developing to support Northwest wind power," said Cathy Ehli, vice president for BPA's transmission services marketing and sales, in a press release. "It's a great example of the collaboration among many parties interested in integrating more renewable resources to the mix that powers the Northwest."

Constellation and Versify will provide technical support for the pilot project.

Christina Williams
Iberdrola, BPA in Pilot Project for Wind Backup
Sustainable Business Oregon, September 22, 2010

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