Renewable energy | Ecotrope

Oregon's next solar farm: Somewhere out there

Ecotrope | Oct. 4, 2011 9:40 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:35 p.m.

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I don't know where Pacific Power's new solar project will be, so I figured this picture of Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon would suffice as a visual.

I don't know where Pacific Power's new solar project will be, so I figured this picture of Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon would suffice as a visual.

Pacific Power President Patrick Reiten announced a new solar project for Oregon today at the Go Green ‘11 conference in Portland.

Or at least I thought he did…

Reiten was switched out of his agenda spot at the conference his company co-sponsored and wound up opening the morning talks instead of being a panelist in a discussion later on. And he dropped a little news nugget into his speech before he left the building: Pacific Power is nearing the launch date for its first Oregon solar project.

“We’re about to embark on our first large-scale solar project,” he said. “I haven’t talked to an audience about this yet.”

Company spokesman Bob Gravely filled in some of the details for me a little later today.

He said the project would provide 2 megawatts of solar power to Pacific Power’s energy mix. That’s enough to serve a few hundred customers – equal to about one commercial-size wind turbine. Pretty small compared with the 1600 megawatts of wind energy the utility has put online in the past five years.

“This stems from the state of Oregon’s requirement that utilities begin producing some solar projects by 2020,” Gravely said. “This would be part of the company’s satisfaction of that requirement. So it will be in Oregon.”

The project would satisfy about a quarter of Pacific Power’s 2020 mandate, he said. But the company can’t announce the location of the project until it chooses a contractor.

“We’ve launched a competitive bidding process for contractors to help provide this project for use,” said Gravely. “We’ve narrowed it down to the short list of the most competitive bids, but we’re still doing our due diligence and negotiations with some of those providers. So until we conclude those negotiations and work, we can’t say anything more about who the providers might be or where the project could be located.”

Ooh, a little mystery. Where do you suppose this solar farm will land?

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