The nation's second largest rate-regulated utility owner of wind-powered generation resources just added 74 new wind turbines in Wyoming.
On Oct. 1, PacifiCorp's Dunlap I wind project began producing renewable energy for customers in six states. The company serves 1.7 million electric customers, operating as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, and as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and northern California.
PacifiCorp and its sister utility, MidAmerican Energy Company, own wind resources with a combined generating capability of 2,316 megawatts - topping the list of all U.S. rate-regulated utility owners of wind generation.
The Dunlap I wind farm is located in Carbon County, Wyo. near the town of Medicine Bow. Its 74 turbines have a total generating capability of 111 megawatts. On average, the annual energy production of the wind farm is expected to equal the amount required to serve about 32,000 households per year.
"We've learned a lot during the past several years about operating variable energy resources as part of a portfolio with other more constant resources needed to serve our customers," said Mark Tallman, PacifiCorp vice president of renewable resource acquisition. "Since 2006, we've added 12 wind projects that we own and operate in Wyoming, Oregon and Washington. We have also acquired cost-effective renewable energy for customers through power purchase agreements with other wind project owners."
In Wyoming, PacifiCorp now owns nine operating wind projects: Foote Creek I, Seven Mile Hill, Seven Mile Hill II, Glenrock, Rolling Hills, Glenrock III, High Plains, McFadden Ridge I and Dunlap I. Also in Wyoming, the company purchases 100 percent of the output of six operating wind projects owned by others.
"Some have mistakenly suggested our wind energy acquisitions in Wyoming are for the purpose of exporting electricity to power-hungry markets in the Southwest or solely to meet the renewable energy requirements of other states," said Tallman. "That is far from the truth. In fact, these are cost-effective resources that are needed to help meet our customers' growing electricity needs in Wyoming and the other five states we serve. These resources have also resulted in valuable Federal tax benefits being passed through to our customers. PacifiCorp's generation and transmission functions serve customers in all six states in which the company operates. As system resources, customers in each state pay only for what they use. We're regulated on a state-by-state basis, so all costs and benefits must first be reviewed and approved by a state's utility commission before customers there see any change in electricity prices resulting from new facilities."