In its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan, Rocky Mountain Power introduced the ‘Energy Vision 2020’ initiative which adds a total of 1,234 MW of new wind energy to the grid by 2020. This will be achieved through a combination of two different wind investments: first, “repowering” 999 MW of RMP's existing wind fleet with new technology to increase the productivity of existing wind power by approximately 84 MW, and second, building 1,150 MW of new wind generation. The initiative also calls for the construction of a new transmission line to support the additional new wind capacity. These three components were separated into two proceedings with the Utah Public Service Commission, which is tasked with approving these projects.
The Latest: New Wind Approved!
Utah Clean Energy intervened in support of the wind projects, which will provide clean energy and mitigate risk for customers. We also called for a more thorough analysis of the bids received in response to an RFP for solar in Utah, which showed that investment in solar resources also reduces costs and risk for Utahns. We would like to see RMP explore these additional in-state solar resource opportunities.
We’re delighted to report that, following multiple rounds of testimony and hearings, the Utah Public Service Commission has approved most of the proposed wind projects, which includes repowering of old turbines and new wind turbines in Wyoming! Utah Clean Energy supported these projects, also called “Energy Vision 2020,” as a step in the right direction towards a clean energy future. Here’s how the new wind projects will benefit Utahns:
- More renewable energy for Utah customers: At 1,150 megawatts, the new wind resources in Wyoming will result in the addition of a significant new power plant’s worth of renewable energy coming to Utah customers. By 2021, Pacificorp’s renewable energy resources will increase from 4% to 7% of Pacificorp’s total generation capacity.
- A zero emissions resource: Wind energy will provide Utah customers and our society with a zero emissions resource that avoids 3.6 billion lbs. of CO2 annually. This is a resource that will help mitigate the substantial risks climate change poses to our society.
- A cost-effective energy resource: A recent report estimates that the cost of the Wyoming wind project is $17.36 per megawatt-hour, less expensive than the cost of many of Pacificorp’s existing coal plants. This illustrates that Pacificorp can go a lot further to move away from fossil resources and towards wind and solar and save Utah customers money.
By helping to decarbonize Rocky Mountain Power’s energy system, the Energy Vision 2020 projects will bring more clean energy into our utility mix and serve as a hedge against increased fuel and carbon prices.