Study: Montana Wind Is Good Fit For Pacific Northwest Power Market


A new analysis undertaken by Charles Shawley, technical specialist for Gaelectric North America, examines the impacts of combining geographically diverse wind resources in Montana with existing wind and renewable resources, including those found along the Columbia River Gorge, on the Pacific Northwest electricity system.

The research provides empirical evidence confirming the unique features of the Montana wind regime, including its strong daytime (diurnal) and counter-seasonal characteristics to both the existing hydroelectric and wind generation in the Pacific Northwest.

Wind from Montana is a strong fit to the load in the Pacific Northwest and complementary to existing renewable energy sources; therefore, Montana wind could play a crucial role in facilitating increasing levels of renewable energy in the region, according to the study.

Gaelectric is developing a 430 MW wind project in Montana, which is expected to begin construction in 2013.

Results of the analysis found that central Montana wind does the following:

– correlates well with the Pacific Northwest winter-peaking utility loads;

– is counter-seasonal to the current Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) system wind generation and Pacific Northwest hydroelectric generation;

– is complementary on an hourly basis to the existing BPA system wind generation; and

– has a significantly higher capacity factor than existing BPA system wind generation.

Data sources used in the study included the BPA, Western Electricity Coordinating Council, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and proprietary wind measurement data.

The full report can be found at

SOURCE: Gaelectric Group

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