Avista Corp. will delay building a wind farm south of Reardan by at least two years, citing the high cost of the wind turbines.
“This stuff is really expensive,” said Hugh Imhof, a spokesman for the Spokane-based utility. “Why build a $125 million wind farm if we don’t need it for another two years?”
The windmills – now targeted for operation at the end of 2013 – are slated for a gusty ridge five miles south of Reardan. They’ll be part of Avista’s first wind-generation project, though the utility has been buying credits from a wind farm on the Oregon-Washington border for several years.
In 2006, Washington voters passed a law requiring utilities to get 15 percent of their power from new, renewable energy sources – such as wind and solar – by 2020.
“We know the future is moving that way,” Imhof said. Over the next decade, Avista plans to acquire about 300 megawatts of electricity generated by wind. But in the short term, there are cheaper ways to add new, renewable energy to Avista’s portfolio, Imhof said.