Rocky Mountain Power has unveiled a 20-year plan to provide electricity to its customers that includes adding more wind and solar energy, while making existing wind turbines more efficient. The $3.5 billion plan also incorporates building a segment of the Gateway West transmission line to facilitate the wind expansion.
“This plan provides more diversity in the energy we use, which helps us keep electricity prices low for customers and improves the economies of our states,” said Cindy A. Crane, Rocky Mountain Power President and CEO. “The proposal is also a major investment that will produce more jobs, provide a stronger tax base and build transmission lines that will deliver reliable energy more efficiently for years to come.”
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) was filed with utility regulators and is used as a road map to help the company provide reliable electric service to customers at the lowest cost.
The 2017 IRP includes the following:
- Upgrading more than 900 MW of existing wind plants with larger blades and newer technology to generate 20% more energy in a wider range of wind conditions
- Capturing the federal production tax credit value for customers
- Beginning construction on a segment of the Gateway West 500-kilovolt transmission line between Medicine Bow, Wyoming, and the Jim Bridger power plant in the southwestern part of the state; the 140-mile line would enable additional wind generation, improve efficiency and relieve transmission congestion
- Facilitating construction of up to 1,100 MW of new wind projects, primarily in Wyoming, by the end of 2020, once again capturing federal production tax credit value for customers
- Adding up to another 859 MW of new wind – 85 MW in Wyoming and 774 MW in Idaho – between 2028 and 2036
- Building up to 1,040 MW of new solar between 2028 and 2036 (about 77% of the solar is assumed to be built in Utah and 23% to be built in states served by Pacific Power)
- Continuing a cost-conscious transition that adds more energy diversity, the plan incorporates the company’s environmental compliance obligations for its coal plants.
By moving to complete the wind upgrades and new wind developments by 2020, the company will be able to use federal production tax credits, which will help cover the costs of the investments and provide a net savings for customers over the life of the projects.
“This ambitious plan – a nearly $3 billion investment in Wyoming – diversifies Wyoming’s economy, expands markets, presents workforce training opportunities, adds jobs and strengthens the tax base in local communities,” said Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. “I look forward to working closely with Rocky Mountain Power. I see great potential for Wyoming workers and rate payers as this plan is implemented.”
Energy efficiency continues to play a key role in the company’s long term plans. The 2017 IRP anticipates energy efficiency will meet 88% of the energy growth needs during the next 10 years – up from 86% from the 2015 forecast.
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