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PNNL to use power produced by local wind farm

October 01, 2002 Share This!

Area residents might have similar option

RICHLAND, Wash. – In an effort to jumpstart the use of clean wind power in the region, the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will purchase and use 8.8 million kilowatt hours of power produced by the new Stateline Wind Power Project, located on the Washington-Oregon border between Pasco and Walla Walla. As a result of the agreement, Richland residents might soon have the option to purchase energy produced by the mammoth wind project as well.

The PNNL purchase, through the City of Richland, is for a one-year period beginning Oct. 1 with an option to extend it. The purchase covers more than 10 percent of the energy PNNL needs to operate its research and office facilities in north Richland, and it means the national lab will be one of the federal government's leaders in the use of "green energy," with 13.7 percent of its energy coming from renewable resources.

"The President's National Energy Plan called for a balanced approach to solving this nation's energy challenges and emphasized the critical role of renewable energy and energy efficiency," said Raymond Orbach, director of DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science oversees PNNL, and Orbach was in Richland today to lead DOE's annual review of the laboratory.

"With the purchase announced today, PNNL is showing it supports the President's energy strategy and that it is a national leader in boosting renewable energy and energy efficiency," Orbach added. "At the same time, PNNL is promoting the growth and success of an up-and-coming Northwest industry and again is partnering with local and regional energy providers."

Richard Moorer, DOE deputy assistant secretary for technology development, energy efficiency and renewable energy, joined Orbach in making the announcement in Richland.

PNNL's large purchase paves the way for the City of Richland to launch a green energy program that includes a survey to evaluate the interest of electric customers in purchasing green energy for a small premium.

"The city is pleased to assist DOE and PNNL in the purchase and delivery of wind-generated energy. Their participation is important in the development of this valuable alternative resource," said Richland Mayor Bob Thompson. "Their involvement reflects a commitment to support ongoing efforts to make this environmentally friendly resource a competitive option in the region. Richland Energy Services is encouraged by their example and stands ready to work with other interested customers."

The PNNL move follows a similar one by DOE last spring. In April, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced the largest ever purchase of electricity generated from renewable energy for DOE headquarters facilities in Washington, D.C., and Germantown, Md., and challenged its other sites to take like action. The DOE contract called for an annual purchase of 6 million kilowatt hours, roughly the amount of electricity needed to power 600 homes each year, and means about 17 percent of the electricity at DOE headquarters is generated from renewable resources.

"At the time, DOE issued a challenge to its laboratories and other sites to step up and join them - even surpass them - in incorporating the use of green power in their facilities," said PNNL Director Lura Powell. "DOE's goal is for each site to purchase three percent of its power from green sources by 2005 and 7.5 percent by 2010. With this move, PNNL easily will surpass those goals, making it a national leader in the use of green energy. It also will diversify the region's electricity portfolio and stimulate a new energy economy in the region."

FPL Energy, the energy development arm of Florida Power and Light Group, is the owner and developer of the Stateline project. PacifiCorp, a large electric utility based in Portland, is responsible for selling the wind-produced power and uses its lines to put the power on the Northwest energy grid, operated by the Bonneville Power Administration. The City of Richland purchases its power from BPA.

The Stateline project straddles the Washington-Oregon border between Pasco and Walla Walla. Its first windmills began turning out power in July 2001. When complete later this decade, the wind farm's 400 turbines will be able to generate about 270 megawatts of power at peak capacity, with an average yield of about 100 megawatts.

Green power supporters are hopeful the Stateline project and other wind farms under construction in the region will change the mix of electricity in the four-state Northwest region. According to BPA, wind power provides less than 1 percent of the Northwest's electricity, while hydropower provides about two-thirds, coal plants 21 percent and natural gas 9 percent.

Tags: Energy, Operations, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Hydropower, Wind Power, Green Energy, Facilities

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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