Truckee utility buys into planned Idaho wind farm | SierraSun.com

Truckee utility buys into planned Idaho wind farm

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE and#8212; With an overarching goal aimed at expanding Truckee’s range of renewable energy sources, the town’s utility district has decided to buy into a new wind farm in Idaho.

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District, as a member of the Utah Associated Municipal Power System, decided last week to invest in Horse Butte, the 50- to 100-megawatt wind farm planned in Idaho.

The contract would buy about 9 megawatts of that 50- to 100-megawatt capacity, said Steven Poncelet, public information and conservation manager for the district and#8212; the 50 to 100 variance depends on how many investors the farm gets, he said.

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 district’s energy supply, Poncelet said. There 1,000 kilowatts in 1 megawatt.

That will cost about $76 per megawatt hour, Poncelet said, with the turbines first spinning at the beginning of 2012, according to current projections.

At about 1.8 megawatts per turbine, there will be somewhere between 28 and 56 turbines on the 7,000-acre Idaho property, Poncelet said

The district previously invested $120,000 over the last two years into the wind farm project to study its potential.

Along with the two renewable items and#8212; the wind farm and a landfill gas plant in Utah and#8212; the district also approved Utah Associated Municipal Power System contract for a market purchase of various power sources at a rate of $56 per megawatt hour, running until March 31, 2017.

The district has steadily grown the percentage of electricity from renewable resources over the last several years, starting with 8.3 percent in 2007, growing to 31.6 in 2009, overshooting district goals of 21 percent by 2010.

and#8220;Some of the purchases we make now we can’t pass up because they’re such a great deal,and#8221; Poncelet said of being ahead of the set goals.