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BPA Looks Beyond Federal Hydro System To Help Integrate Wind Power

File image.
by Staff Writers
Portland OR (SPX) Sep 15, 2010
Calpine has entered into an agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) for a pilot project to provide up to 75 megawatts of generation flexibility from its cleaner burning, natural gas-fired Hermiston Power Project.

Maintaining a balance between the supply of electricity and the amount used is crucial to keeping the lights on, but the variability of wind power complicates that effort.

With the new agreement, when wind generators produce more electricity than forecasted, BPA can request that Calpine quickly reduce Hermiston's output to accommodate the renewable wind power. Calpine will then buy the excess power on BPA's system to fulfill its existing obligations to customers served by Hermiston.

"The federal hydro system has historically provided the vast majority of within-hour reserves for wind power in the Pacific Northwest," said Elliot Mainzer, executive vice president of Corporate Strategy for BPA.

"But as the amount of wind power increases, BPA has been looking at other sources to help reduce the balancing burden on the federal hydro system. This pilot project fits very nicely into BPA's overall strategy of using non-federal power supplies to help support wind."

"Calpine continually works with our customers to find innovative solutions to the opportunities and challenges presented by integrating renewable resources into the power grid," said Jeff Woodall, Calpine's VP of Power Trading for California.

"This pilot project is an example of how natural gas generation will play a critical role in America's clean-energy future. By providing this flexibility product from our Hermiston plant, we help BPA optimize use of its hydroelectric generation system, integrate wind power, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Pacific Northwest."

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