ScottishPower’s US subsidiary PacifiCorp this week signed a 20-year agreement to purchase the entire output of a new 50 MW wind farm under construction at Arlington, Wyoming.
The Rock River I project, developed by SeaWest WindPower, is expected to be online later this year. It will produce enough clean energy for nearly 27,000 homes, while offsetting around 164,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year, according to the company.
“The Rock River project makes good on a promise we made at the time of our merger with ScottishPower to bring significant new renewable energy resources on-line for our customers,” said Judi Johansen, CEO of PacifiCorp. “Rock River and other western wind projects will bring new renewable energy into our region�s grid at a time when power supplies are foremost in the minds of consumers”.
ScottishPower is aggressively pursuing its goal of achieving ten percent power production from renewable energy. It is committed to increasing its generation from renewable sources, such as wind, to 500 MW.
In the UK, an announcement was made in April that the Crown Estate had given permission for ScottishPower to explore the construction of a large-scale wind farm in the Irish Sea off the Blackpool coast. The Flat Shell area project is over a 10 sq. km site and a feasibility study will look at locating 30 wind turbines with a capability of generating more than 60 MW – enough for 40,000 homes – by 2004.
One potential obstacle to the offshore development comes from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) which is concerned that a proliferation of offshore wind farms could compromise national security by, for example, interfering with radar. A spokesman for ScottishPower said that the company was in discussion with the MOD but that no formal objection had been lodged. If the MOD concluded that a conflict existed, this would have the effect of terminating the project however, the spokesman did not feel this was a likely outcome.
Rock River I is the latest addition to a number of generation projects underway giving PacifiCorp access to a further 940 MW this year as ScottishPower seeks to take advantage of perceived market opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.
Last year, PacifiCorp contracted to take output from the Stateline wind farm – the largest such development in the world.
During 2000 ScottishPower opened two UK wind powered generation stations, and a further one scheduled for commissioning by the end of this year.
Having been in the wind industry for nearly two decades, SeaWest WindPower, Inc. is a leading independent developer of utility-scale wind energy projects. With the addition of the Rock River projects, SeaWest will have completed nearly 450 mw of wind power projects in California, in addition to nearly 250 mw of projects in Wyoming and in Europe.