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REGIONAL UTILITIES JOIN IN WIND POWER PROJECT

 REGIONAL UTILITIES JOIN IN WIND POWER PROJECT
 BELLEVUE, Wash., Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Four investor-owned


electric utilities have reached an agreement to work together with U.S. Windpower on the Pacific Northwest's first large-scale wind generating project, the companies said today. The project will be located in Rattlesnake Hills, near the Tri-Cities in Benton County, Wash.
 If all necessary steps are completed, construction could begin as early as 1994. By 1996, the wind generating project is expected to produce approximately 50 megawatts of power with nearly 140 wind turbines, enough electricity to serve about 9,400 households.
 The Idaho Power Co. (NYSE: IDA), Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) (NYSE: PGN), PacifiCorp (NYSE: PPW) and Puget Sound Power & Light Co. (NYSE: PSD) reached the agreement to work together on the project last week. Benton County Public Utility District also has been invited to participate in the project and is considering the invitation.
 The Pacific Northwest has experienced significant growth in the demand for electricity in the last five years. The growth is anticipated to continue through the 1990s and the utilities expect windpower will play an important role in meeting the region's future energy needs.
 As a first step, the utilities are negotiating a development contract with U.S. Windpower Inc., the firm that will develop the project and supply equipment. Other steps include securing permits, conducting studies to determine the project's environmental feasibility, obtaining regulatory approvals and working to meet local community needs. The utilities will also work with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to ensure that the power generated by the wind facility can be used as efficiently as possible throughout the Northwest region.
 The project will be located on about 12 miles of federal and private land atop Rattlesnake Hills, which is approximately 20 miles north of Richland.
 The area has long been studied as a potential site for wind generation. It catches winds that sweep down the eastern flank of the Cascades from Canada, as well as the westerly winds that whip through the Columbia River Gorge. In the early 1980s, wind experts identified several promising Northwest sites, and found that Rattlesnake Hills has a year-round average wind speed of 16 mph. That matches California's Altamont Pass, the world's largest wind energy production site.
 Winds at Rattlesnake Hills are especially strong and steady in the winter and early spring, when they increase 20 to 30 mph. This makes the wind project especially attractive, since it is a time of year when resource needs are the greatest.
 Wind projects began in the United States in the late 1970s. However, earlier turbine blades needed to spin at an exact speed to provide usable electricity.
 The Rattlesnake Hills project is expected to use U.S. Windpower's new turbine, the 33M-VS, developed in conjunction with the electric utility industry. Earlier turbine blades needed to spin at an exact speed to provide usable electricity. However, the variable speed turbine incorporates new technology that allows the turbines to operate at different rotating speeds, reducing maintenance and capital costs, while producing reliable, cost-effective power. This technology lowers the cost of windpower to the point where it is now competitive with other resource options.
 The utilities expect to reach an agreement to proceed with U.S. Windpower in the fall of this year.
 -0- 8/12/92
 /CONTACT: Jeff Beaman of Idaho Power, 208-383-2461; or Roxanne Bailey of Portland General Electric, 503-464-8466; or Mike O'Bryant of Pacific Power, 503-464-5654; or Melanie Granfors of Puget Power, 206-462-3710; or Barrett Stambler of U.S. Windpower, 510-834-5071/
 (IDA PGN PPW PSD) CO: Idaho Power; Portland General Electric; PacifiCorp; Puget Sound
 Power & Light; U.S. Windpower ST: Washington IN: UTI SU:


JL-SC -- SE005 -- 6263 08/12/92 14:35 EDT
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Date:Aug 12, 1992
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