U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

Seattle-Area Utility Pursues Wind Power, Efficiency; Shuts Hydro Plant

December 3, 2003

Puget Sound Energy (PSE), the utility serving the Seattle area, issued a request for proposals for 150 megawatts of wind power in late November. PSE seeks to buy wind power either through long-term power purchase contracts or through ownership of a wind power plant. PSE is holding a pre-bid conference this afternoon, with responses due by January 9th. The utility expects one or more wind power projects to be in place by the end of 2005. See the PSE press release and the request for proposals.

PSE also plans to expand its energy efficiency programs and has proposed higher targets for 2004 and 2005. Over the next two years, the utility plans to avoid 39.2 average megawatts of electrical load, while saving more than 5 million therms of natural gas. The utility has proposed a wide range of programs for its residential, commercial, and industrial customers, ranging from consumer rebates to business grants. PSE also intends to launch pilot programs for heat-pump maintenance, lighting retrofits in multi-family housing, duct system enhancements in mobile homes, and ventilation system maintenance for commercial customers. The PSE plan is subject to regulatory approval. See the PSE press release.

While it plans to increase its use of wind power and energy efficiency, PSE is decreasing its reliance on hydroelectric power. The utility announced last week that it will no longer pursue a new operating license for its 92-year-old White River Hydropower Station, because meeting current environmental standards at the facility would be cost prohibitive. PSE will shut down the 70-megawatt station in January. Meanwhile, the utility continues to pursue a new license for the Baker River Project, a 175-megawatt installation consisting of powerhouses on two dams near Concrete, Washington. The project's 50-year license expires in April 2006. See the PSE press release and hydropower licensing Web page.