Wind power headed for great expansion in Northwest

May 11, 2011

The amount of wind power in the Northwest is likely to double – and perhaps triple– over the next 15 years. That's according to a new estimate delivered Tuesday.

The Northwest has enough wind turbines to produce more than five-thousand megawatts of power. But Northwest Power and Conservation Council resource analyst Ken Dragoon says the region will have a lot more by 2025. He says renewable energy mandates in the Northwest are likely to double the region’s wind power.

“And some additional wind might be developed in the Northwest to help California reach their requirements. There’s a lot of uncertainty in that, and that could range as high as three or four thousand megawatts.”

The upper end of the estimates for the Northwest and California would add ten thousand megawatts, but Dragoon says while that’s possible, it’s not likely. The Power Council is planning to re-start a special work group next month to help address problems that wind power poses for the electrical grid.