SALT LAKE CITY — PacifiCorp says it is now the full owner of the Foote Creek I wind farm in Carbon County, Wyoming, a change that will incorporate new turbine technology to increase energy output by 60 percent.
When the 41.4 megawatt facility is fully “repowered,” it will produce enough energy to meet the needs of nearly 20,000 homes in the utility company’s service territory.
In addition, a press release points to $14 million more in tax revenue that will be generated 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, a jointly owned demonstration project commissioned in 1999 with PacifiCorp and the Eugene Water & Electric Board as co-owners.
PacifiCorp is today the largest regulated utility owner of wind assets in the West.
PacifiCorp will begin the process of repowering the Foote Creek I facility by removing the 68 existing 600-kilowatt wind turbine generators originally installed between 1998 and 1999 and replacing them with 13 new modern turbines with a much higher output capability. Those new turbines will be supported by new foundations, along with new energy collector circuits, switchgear and controls. The result is that significantly fewer wind turbines will be needed to produce an equivalent peak output, while dramatically increasing the energy production from the facility.
“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,” said Stefan Bird, president and CEO of Pacific Power. “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.”
The 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, according to a press release.