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PacifiCorp gets regulatory nod for 1.1 GW of wind

Wind turbines. Source: Rocky Mountain Power/PacifiCorp (www.rockymountainpower.net).

April 16 (Renewables Now) - The Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a plan of US power utility firm PacifiCorp to add 1,150 MW of new wind power and additional transmission capacity to its network.

The plan is part of PacifiCorp’s Energy Vision 2020 -- a USD-3.5-billion (EUR 2.8bn) expansion programme that involves the construction of new wind parks and upgrades or repowering of existing facilities, as well as the construction of a high-voltage transmission line in Wyoming.

The PSC has given its nod to a settlement agreement between the firm, the Wyoming Industrial Energy Consumers, the Wyoming Office of Consumer Advocate and the Interwest Energy Alliance, relating to the project and also approved the Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCNs) needed for building the wind parks and transmission assets, PacifiCorp said on Friday. The settlement covers the construction of three wind farms in Wyoming totalling 1,150 MW and a 140-mile (225.3 km) high-voltage transmission line to connect new wind capacity to PacifiCorp's grid. The company expects construction of the assets to begin next year, following approval from other state commissions, acquisition of rights of way, and receipt of permits.

The new capacity will expand PacifiCorp’s owned and contracted wind power by over 60% and enable it to provide additional power for over 400,000 average households by 2020.

Last year PacifiCorp issued a request for proposal (RfP), seeking to add at least 1,100 MW of wind capacity by 2020. As a result of the solicitation, it selected four projects totalling 1,311 MW in February. One of those, however, a 161-MW scheme in Wyoming’s Uinta County, will no longer be part of the plan, according to the settlement agreement.

On announcing its Energy Vision 2020, PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy, said that it intends to upgrade or repower its wind parks in Wyoming, Washington and Oregon in order to use larger turbine blades and newer technology. The repowering component of the programme is subject to a separate approval by the Wyoming commission and a decision is still pending, the firm noted.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.811)

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Veselina Petrova is one of SeeNews Renewables most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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