In recognition of the 10th anniversary of PenLight’s Harvest Wind Project, last month we explained how the project started with a partnership between PenLight, Eugene Water and Electric Board, Cowlitz PUD, and Lakeview Light & Power. This month, we feature a behind-the-scenes experience of events that helped make the Harvest Wind Project a reality.
When the Harvest Wind Project was developed in 2008, there was a boom in wind development in the Pacific Northwest. One of the key drivers was the requirement for Washington utilities to meet the renewable mandate of Initiative 937 (I-937).
To protect PenLight’s nonprofit status while allowing the ability to qualify for a grant from the U.S. Treasury, the board created PLC Energy Inc., or PLCE, as a separate entity. The grant application was successful, and funding was secured for 30% of the project which reduced the cost to the Harvest Wind owners.
Permitting for the Harvest Wind Project was issued in May 2009. The clock was ticking with only seven months to complete the project requirements and meet the December 2009 grant deadline. Over 50 different legal contracts needed to be finalized with different entities including agreements with Klickitat County PUD, landowner leases, turbine purchases, on-site project management, power purchase agreements, wind scheduling agreements, and building a transmission line to Bonneville Power Administration’s Rock Creek transmission substation. All of this was accomplished with little time to spare, PenLight’s nonprofit status was protected and the administrative burden of the project was eased due to the board of directors forming PLCE as a separate legal entity.
Today, the Harvest Wind Project is a valuable asset to PenLight and its members that continues to mature over time. It provides the utility with enough renewable energy credits to meet the I-937 requirements while producing carbon-free energy for the region. We are proud to celebrate Harvest Wind’s 10 year anniversary and look forward to ten more years of this great partnership.