US state governments approve PacifiCorp's US$3 billion wind-transmission project

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US state governments approve PacifiCorp's US$3 billion wind-transmission project

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PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has secured the final state government approval required to proceed with Energy Vision 2020, an initiative focussed on wind and transmission assets in the northwestern United States, which the company estimates will require US$3 billion investment.

Energy Vision 2020 entails the development of three new wind projects in Wyoming that will provide a total 1,150 MW generation capacity, construction of a new 225km high-voltage transmission line, also in Wyoming, and repowering of operational wind farms in Wyoming and Washington with a total installed capacity of 900 MW.

The repowering projects will upgrade the company’s existing wind fleet with longer blades and newer technology that will boost output by more than 25% and extend the life of the wind turbines.

Three of the six states in PacifiCorp’s service territory require regulatory review prior to major capital investments. As of this week, the Public Utilities Commissions of Idaho and Utah have approved the project. The government of Wyoming issued conditional Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity in April this year.

The state governments of Oregon, Washington and California will conduct full reviews and prudency determinations of Energy Vision 2020 when PacifiCorp seeks permission to recover project costs. 

Pending acquisition of remaining rights of way, receipt of permits, and execution of final contracts, construction of the planned projects is expected to start in 2019. The permit for the new TB Flats wind project has already been approved by the Industrial Siting Division of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

The majority of the repowering projects are planned to be completed in 2019, with the remainder in 2020. Completion of the new wind and transmission projects also will occur in 2020.

The new wind projects will increase the amount of wind capacity owned and contracted by PacifiCorp by more than 60% and will add enough new wind energy to power more than 400,000 average homes by 2020.

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