Iberdrola Renewables, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Constellation Energy Control & Dispatch and Versify Solutions have launched a new pilot program that could expand cost-effective use of Pacific Northwest wind energy. The project also holds promise for lowering costs and increasing the environmental benefits of wind energy in the region, according to Iberdrola.
The initiative, called Customer Supplied Generation Imbalance or ‘self supply,’ brings together wind, hydro and natural-gas-fired energy to reliably and cost-effectively integrate wind generation into the electricity grid and reduce the use of coal-fired generation.
Currently, more than 3,000 MW is connected to the BPA transmission system. Since the wind does not blow continuously, the actual energy output of regional wind farms is approximately 30%.
Currently, wind generation is backed exclusively with energy from federal hydropower marketed by the BPA. Wind power's significant growth in the Northwest threatens to exhaust the federal dams' capacity to alone provide wind-balancing services and meet its other obligations.
The self-supply pilot enables wind generators to procure their own balancing resources, freeing up federal hydropower. This will increase hydro-system flexibility, which would help add more renewable resources to the electricity grid, according to Iberdrola.
Iberdrola Renewables also has resources of more than 600 MW of low-carbon-emitting, natural-gas-fired generation at its Klamath Cogeneration Plant and nearby Klamath natural-gas plants located at the Oregon-California border in Klamath Falls, Ore. The company has entered into strategic agreements with TransAlta and the Grant County Public Utility District to use their electric generation.
SOURCE: Iberdrola Renewables Inc.