BP Wind Energy (50%) and Ridgeline Energy (50%)
BP Wind Energy
The Goshen North Wind Farm is a 124.5MW wind project located 10 miles east of the city of Idaho Falls in Bonneville County. It is the largest wind farm operating in the state of Idaho.
The wind farm was commissioned in November 2010 after six months of construction. It is owned by a 50:50 joint venture of BP Wind Energy and Ridgeline Energy. BP Energy is the operator of the wind farm.
The estimated investment on the wind farm is $300m. With a generating capacity of 380m KWh, the project is supplying power to 37,000 American homes.
Power generated at the wind farm is being sold to Southern California Edison under a 25-year long power purchase agreement (PPA). The PPA is for the sale of 90MW with an option to increase this to 130MW.
The project is part of Idaho’s strategy to reduce dependence on the import of fossil fuels and to leverage on the potential renewable resources. The state has a goal of producing 25% energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Goshen North Wind Farm is constructed on an 11,000 acre site. It features 83 GE 1.5xle wind turbines with a rated capacity of 1.5MW each.
The project involved construction of 28 miles of access roads, 37 miles of underground connections and seven miles of transmission lines.
It also included the construction of a substation, an interconnect substation, and an operations and maintenance facility.
Goshen North development
The project construction contract was awarded to Minnesota-based Mortenson Construction in July 2010. It is the first wind farm built by the company in the state of Idaho.
It is also the 93rd wind project and the sixth project carried out by the company in association with BP Wind Energy.
Power is transmitted via an existing 17 mile long, 161kV overhead transmission line that is connected to Goshen substation.
The GE 1.5xle wind turbine is designed based on the 1.5sle model. The new technology captures more wind energy and has 15% more sweep area.
The 1.5xle turbine can be used in weather conditions ranging between -30°C and 40°C. It has a rotor diameter of 82.5m and sweep area of 5,346m². The turbine is 80m tall to the centre of the hub.
The WindBOOST control system is the latest feature added to the 1.5xle turbine. This feature enables the blades to spin fast and produce up to 4% increased annual energy production (AEP). This results in high return on investment and low pay back period to the operators.
The new control system has a remote control feature to turn on and off at turbine level. The other main feature is the condition based maintenance (CBM) that proactively detects drive-train issues that are about to occur. Field or factory tested and installed CBM improves reliability.
The CBM feature allows the operators to understand the issues in advance. This enables continuous production even while the turbines are being repaired.
In addition, multiple maintenance events can be planned with the same resources. It also reduces and limits drive-train damage and repair cost.
Idaho power market
As per 2007 estimates, most of Idaho’s energy came from hydro (78.7%) and gas (9.8%). Just 1.2 % of the energy came from renewable resources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.
Idaho is currently aiming to produce 20% electricity from renewable resources by 2020 and plans to increase it to 65% by 2050.
The state is ranked 18th in the US for energy efficiency, as the state utilities are already spending more than $7m a year to improve efficiency. It ranks 21st in wind power generation and 13th in terms of future wind potential of 8,290MW.
The per capita residential electricity use in the state is 5,504KWh a year which is 22% greater than the national average. Transport and industry are the leading sectors using energy up to 39%. Homes and businesses consume up to 35% and 26% respectively.