Avista has announced that it will be purchasing power generated by the proposed Palouse Wind project, a wind energy facility developed by First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company in Whitman County, Washington. The agreement was reached through a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the company in February 2011.
In a release, Dick Storro, vice president of Energy Resources for Avista said that "Recent market changes, including reductions in the cost of wind power facilities and tax incentives that remain in effect, have combined to make this an excellent time to acquire long-term output from a cost-effective wind resource, which has the added benefit of being located in our service territory. Palouse Wind will help Avista meet its goal of providing reliable energy to our customers at a reasonable cost, while meeting renewable portfolio standards, now and in the future."
Under the terms of the 30-year power purchase agreement beginning 2012, Palouse Wind will provide Avista with close to 40 average megawatts of renewable energy, or approximately 100 megawatts of nameplate wind capacity. Palouse Wind will top into Avista's electric system through the company’s Benewah/Shawnee transmission line.
Ben Fairbanks, First Wind's Development Director, commented that "Palouse Wind will bring more than 100 construction jobs, as well up to 10 full-time, permanent jobs to Whitman County once the project is operational. This project also represents a substantial increase in tax revenues for the county. We're pleased to partner with Avista to deliver clean, renewable energy to homes and businesses in the region." Fairbanks further commented that "This is an important project for First Wind. We have been working in Whitman County for over three years developing partnerships with landowners, local businesses and local government. We are thrilled to enter into a long term partnership with the region's local utility so that the energy from the Palouse Wind project can be a source of home-grown energy."
Avista has been successful in meetings its customers’ power needs in compliance with renewable portfolio standards, both in the near and long term while also balancing the costs of new resources. To address the renewable portfolio standards as listed in Washington's Energy Independence Act, the company has to purchase power from eligible renewable resources, in addition to purchasing qualifying renewable energy credits (RECs), or combine both options to address annual targets of 3% of energy used to meet customer demand by Jan. 1, 2012, 9% by Jan. 1, 2016 and 15% by Jan. 1, 2020.Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves