Q: Will Clearwater Power Company be investing in large scale wind power? (December, 2014)
A: At this time, CPC does not plan to build or invest in large scale wind power. Since Initiative 937 was passed in 2006, we have all seen hundreds of wind turbines cropping up around us. This is because I-937 requires utilities that have more than 25,000 customers in Washington State to have a renewable portfolio standard. This standard requires those utilities to obtain a certain percentage of their generation from renewables like wind power by a certain date. Unfortunately, wind power is significantly more expensive than other regionally common sources like large hydropower. Clearwater Power has fewer than 25,000 members in Washington, so we are exempt from this requirement.
In 2009, we installed a 3.4 kW residential wind turbine at our office along with a 1 kW photovoltaic solar array. Rather than bulk generation, our installation is strictly an educational demonstration of residential net-metering to help members who are considering installing this type of equipment at their homes. Now members can see actual installation costs, take the self-guided tour and see how a net-metering solar or wind system hooks up to the utility grid. They can also go onto our web site and see how much they can expect to receive in generation from a similar system.