PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has acquired sole ownership of the Foote Creek I wind facility, a 41.4 MW project in Carbon County, Wyo. PacifiCorp is now proceeding to repower the project with new turbine technology, increasing energy output by 60%.
The repowered facility will produce enough energy to meet the needs of 19,500 typical homes in PacifiCorp’s service territory. It is anticipated that the project will generate an additional $14 million in tax revenue for rural Wyoming communities over the next 30 years.
Foote Creek I was the company’s first wind facility and the first utility-scale wind project in Wyoming. The demonstration project was commissioned in 1999, with PacifiCorp and the Eugene Water & Electric Board as co-owners, and it was supported with a power purchase agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration.
“Twenty-one years ago, PacifiCorp and its partners’ development of Foote Creek I helped pave the way for utility-scale wind energy as an industry-defining demonstration project,” says Stefan Bird, president and CEO of Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp. “Today, this new investment in the project builds on our vision to even better harness wind energy and power the grid with increased efficiency, delivering even more low-cost renewable energy to our customers.”
PacifiCorp will remove the 68 existing 600 kW wind turbine generators originally installed between 1998 and 1999 and replace them with 13 modern turbines, supported by new foundations, energy collector circuits, switchgear and controls.
Notably, repowering in 2020 will requalify the facility for federal production tax credits, which will be passed on as savings to PacifiCorp customers. It will also reduce ongoing operating costs associated with the older turbine equipment.
The repowering is expected to extend the useful life of the facility by more than two decades, creating substantial ongoing benefits for customers. The wind turbines occupy about 1% of the land they are housed upon, thereby allowing the property to continue supporting traditional land uses, such as grazing livestock.
“Acquiring full ownership and repowering Foote Creek I provides a unique opportunity to upgrade the company’s oldest wind plant, located in one of the most favorable wind energy sites in Wyoming, applying the latest technology so that it can continue to serve our customers well into the future,” comments Gary Hoogeveen, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, another division of PacifiCorp.