Commissioners on Aug. 1 voted unanimously to explore the possible sale of EWEB’s ownership interests Harvest Wind in south central Washington state and Foote Creek in Wyoming.
The move to consider the sale of one or both ownership stakes in the wind farms follows the successful 2016 sale of the Smith Creek Hydroelectric facility in northwest Idaho. EWEB is long on power – meaning we have more generation resources than we need to serve customer energy demand, even under drought conditions, for the next decade.
Further, wind is among our more expensive generation resources, and both Harvest Wind and Foote Creek are remote from our service area. In addition, the lethargic wholesale energy market has not been kind to these higher-cost resources.
EWEB remains under contract to purchase power from two additional wind farms, Klondike III in Sherman County, and Stateline in Umatilla County.
Commissioner actions on Tuesday are only the start of a process that may or may not come to fruition. The Smith Creek sale took more than two years to complete. Any potential sale must be approved by commissioners.
EWEB owns a 21.2 percent share of the Foote Creek Wind I wind farm near Laramie, which started operations in 1999. The majority owner, PacifiCorp, is interested in acquiring EWEB’s share so it controls the entire site. The project has 68 turbines that are each capable of producing 0.6 mW.
Operations at Harvest Wind, near Roosevelt, Wash., started in 2009. EWEB owns a 20 percent share in a partnership that include three other Northwest utilities — Peninsula Light Co., Cowlitz PUD and Lakeview Light & Power. Like EWEB, two of the three remaining owners have sufficient resources to serve customer load and are amendable to considering a sale of the project.