TURLOCK – The TID Board of Directors approved an agreement to purchase a renewable power wind project. The project consists of 62 turbines which will generate a total of 137 megawatts, enough green energy to power approximately 44,000 households each year. Completion of the project would add a significant amount of renewable energy to the District’s portfolio, taking it to 28 percent qualified renewable energy, eight years ahead of the Board adopted goal of 20 percent by 2017.
Governor Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order on November 17, 2008 that requires 33 percent of energy provided by utility companies be from renewable resources by 2020.
Although the purchase agreement for the project was approved, TID has until mid 2009 to finalize the financing. A Power Purchase Agreement was also approved for the green energy that will be produced by the project until December 2009.
The final cost of the project has not been reported yet but the Tuolumne Wind Project could cost more than $200 million.
“Wind power diversifies our energy portfolio and gives us another clean, efficient renewable resource to compliment our hydroelectric power,” commented General Manager Larry Weis.
The Tuolumne Wind Project is located in Klickitat County, Washington along the Columbia River. This site has been recognized as one of the most productive wind resource areas in the Western United States. The project is expected to be in commercial operation by March 2009.
This is TID’s first investment in wind facilities. Currently, TID’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) includes small hydro, solar and geothermal. Additionally, TID will soon complete the largest fuel cell project in California, which will generate 1.2 megawatts and will be counted towards its RPS.
The price and demand for renewable energy is expected to rise significantly due to California’s renewable mandates. “This reality puts tremendous pressure on TID to act swiftly and carefully to protect our customers from inflated costs in the future,” commented Weis. “It is a challenge in this economic time to balance providing affordable energy to our customers and utilizing new technologies to comply with state mandates.”