Renewable wind farm power to blow through Truckee by 2012 |

Renewable wind farm power to blow through Truckee by 2012

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Itand#8217;s official: Clean and renewable wind farm energy is coming to Truckee as early as 2012.

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District has struck a 15-megawatt deal with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a government agency that provides comprehensive wholesale electric energy on a nonprofit basis within the Intermountain West.

and#8220;Truckee is one utility of many utilities within UAMPS. Weand#8217;re probably the biggest user for the project,and#8221; said district board member Ron Hemig, adding that the power should be available by the second quarter of 2012. and#8220;Our goal is to get 15 megawatts out of it.and#8221;

The Horse Butte Wind Project will be constructed on a 17,600-acre plot within Idahoand#8217;s Bonneville County near Idaho Falls.

and#8220;Weand#8217;ve been involved in the planning mostly this year, but we actually made a commitment to plan it in the prior year,and#8221; Hemig said.

According to a UAMPS press release, the wind farm will contain at least 32 wind turbine generators with a total capacity of about 58 megawatts. Vestas-American Wind Technology will supply the wind turbine generators. Groundbreaking for the project will start in early November with Aubrey Silvey Wind Enterprises as the lead contractor.

Hemig said as one of the initial 23 UAMPS members to participate in the project, TDPUD will have to gather funding by selling bonds, a process he said that wonand#8217;t be too difficult and likely to be done through the Municipal Utility Financing Authority to which he acts as chair.

Wind studies show the planned Idaho wind turbines will spin about 30 percent of the time, which means an average of 3,000 kilowatts per hour, or about 15 percent of the districtand#8217;s energy supply, said Steven Poncelet, public information and conservation manager for the district. There are 1,000 kilowatts in 1 megawatt.

Based on that 30 percent mark, Poncelet said it would deliver about 5 megawatts of power to TDPUD. Cost estimates for that power are about $64 per megawatt-hour, he said, a price that could drop to about $58 after six years.

and#8220;This is a very attractive price for a renewable,and#8221; Poncelet said.

According to UAMPS, the financial structure of the project allows UAMPS to expand the project in the future, with full build-out projected to be 99 megawatts, at an expected cost of $250 million.

and#8220;This is an exciting day for UAMPS,and#8221; said Doug Hunter, UAMPS general manager. and#8220;Adding an additional wind resource to our power supply portfolio is a smart choice that gives our members more options, so they can continue to provide the cleanest, most reliable and affordable electricity possible to their communities.and#8221;

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