The Clallam County Public Utilities District received $55.6 million in renewable energy bonds to pay for its share of two wind projects outside the area.
The utility district received $32.2 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds for the 165-megawatt Mustang Ridge project in the Tri-Cities area and $19.4 million in low-interest bonds for the 82-megawatt Radar Ridge project near Naselle in southwest Washington.
‘Lowers the cost’
“Access to these low-interest bonds allows us to appreciably lower the cost of developing these projects,” said Doug Nass, Clallam County PUD general manager, in a prepared statement.
“These lower costs benefit our customers by reducing the upward pressure new power generation projects have on our rates.
“We are pleased that the assessment of these projects and our involvement showed the quality of their potential and our plans for developing them.”
Clallam County PUD is a 15 percent partner in the Radar Ridge project. Other partners are Grays Harbor, Pacific and Mason counties’ PUDs.
Energy Northwest is the joint operating agency.
The Mustang Ridge project is in its early phase, with Clallam and Mason counties expressing interest. Energy Northwest is still determining potential interest of other utilities.
After Initiative 937 passed statewide in 2007, utility districts were required to bolster development of renewable energy sources like wind power.
The law excludes hydropower, which fuels 60 percent of the state, from the list of qualified renewable sources.
It sets targets for how much of a utility’s energy portfolio must come from renewable energy.
With nearly 30,000 customers, Clallam County PUD meets the 25,000-customer threshold to obtain more and more renewable energy to serve its customers, said Jeff Beaman, Clallam County PUD spokesman.
By 2012, the district must supply 3 percent of its demand with renewable sources. That number jumps to 9 percent in 2015 and to 15 percent by 2020, Beaman explained.
Clallam County PUD has been planning to obtain reliable and financially responsible renewable energy, Beaman said.
“In today’s world, renewable sources are more expensive,” Beaman said.
“The challenge we have is to obtain the right amount at the right time at the lowest cost as possible.”
The low-interest renewable energy bonds will help.
“We definitely are pleased with the results,” Beaman said.
The bonds are paid for through the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
All told, 805 utilities throughout the nation received $2.2 billion in energy bonds.
By Rob Ollikainen, Peninsula Daily News – http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20091103/news/311039989