Benton PUD Purchases Wind Energy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton PUD Purchases Wind Energy

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KENNEWICK, Wash-- To meet state mandates the Benton PUD is purchasing renewable energy. They purchased a three percent share in the White Creek Wind Project. 

This is part of state Intiative 937. It requires all state public utility companies to have at least three percent of their energy coming from renewable sources by 2012. 

Now that does not include hydro, which accounts for 85 percent of PUD's energy sources. The wind power will serve enough energy for about 1,000 homes.

The White Creek Project is located at the Columbia River Gorge. It has 89 wind turbines and it began producing power back in November 2007.

"This project is kind of in the middle of the road. It's a project that was built a year ago, it was started 3 years ago and so it doesn't have quite the cost escalation that some of the new projects that are being contemplated now have," said Jim Sanders, General Manager of Benton PUD.

Benton PUD invested $11 million from reserves for the wind energy. Besides making the 2012 mandate, the PUD will also need to have nine percent of it's energy coming from renewable sources by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020.