Wind Power on BPA System Sets New Record

These efforts include expanding and reinforcing the agency’s transmission system to support wind integration. Here are some examples:

  • BPA recently completed a 79 mile long 500-kilovolt power line and is constructing another high voltage line. When the second is complete BPA will be able to offer approximately 3,000 megawatts of firm transmission service to wind facilities that have requested it.
  • Like a freeway interchange BPA recently put into service another large substation to enable wind to get to the power grid. The Central Ferry Substation, located in Garfield County in southeast Washington, feeds energy from Puget Sound Energy’s new Lower Snake River Wind Project into BPA’s massive transmission system. The Snake River project is now providing 343 megawatts of clean, renewable power.
  • BPA has developed a state of the art wind speed and wind generation forecasting system that forecasts up to three days in advance as opposed to the previous system that provided information only one hour ahead.
  • BPA continues to expand a pilot program that allows customers to adjust schedules every 30 minutes. Traditionally, utilities schedule electricity generation on an hourly basis. But wind generation changes much more rapidly. This enables utilities and wind plant operators to save money by finding places to sell energy when they are producing more than they schedule. It also provides them the opportunity to find other resources to replace the energy if they are producing less than they have scheduled.

“Renewables such as wind are an important part of America’s energy independence and an important part of the Northwest’s energy future,” said Silverstein. “We are proud of this accomplishment.” 

These investments have provided thousands of jobs in the region, many in rural communities that have suffered during this recession.