The world”s largest wind farm will be built on the border between Oregon and Washington states.
PORTLAND, Oregon – The world’s largest wind farm will be built on the border between Oregon and Washington states. The 450 turbines will generate electricity for 70,000 homes in 13 western states, according to the announcement from PacifiCorp Power Marketing and FPL Energy. FPL will build, own and operate the wind farm southwest of Walla Walla, Washington. PPM will purchase electricity from the project over a 25 year period. The Stateline Wind Generating Project will total 300 megawatts of green power to meet energy demand in the western United States. When the 450 turbines are commissioned, the output will be provide enough electricity for one-third of the residential customers in Portland. “The Stateline project is just the sort of sustainable solution we need for the region’s energy shortage,” says Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. “The project has the added benefit that it can be brought on quickly to meet our immediate needs.” “This is a great example of how alternative energy sources can benefit the Northwest,” adds Washington Governor Gary Locke. “This facility will help meet the increasing demand for electricity in our region while providing economic development to eastern Washington.” “Wind powered energy is both cost-competitive with gas, and friendlier to the environment,” he says. “This is exactly the sort of innovation we need in the Pacific Northwest today.” The announcement makes PPM the leading supplier of renewable resources in the Pacific Northwest. FPL Energy is the largest developer and operator of wind farms in the U.S., with 1,000 MW of turbines in operation or under construction in seven states. The company owns and operates the 24.9 MW Vansycle wind facility adjacent to the Stateline site, and plans to add up to 1,000 MW of wind power to its portfolio. “This is wind power on a grand scale,” says PPM president Terry Hudgens. “Stateline is a watershed event for our company and for the region. With Stateline, wind is no longer just a small niche in our supply, but has taken a position as a very real and significant part of the new electric resources the region badly needs.” “The Stateline Project fortifies FPL Energy’s position as the leading developer of clean, renewable wind power in the country,” adds FPL Energy president Lew Hay. “We are excited about working with PPM to provide new sources of electricity for the Pacific Northwest.” Shortages of electricity in the western U.S. have prompted politicians to call for accelerated construction of new power plants. Conventional fossil fuel plants require years to commission, while most of the Stateline Project will be generating this year. “It’s a spectacular breakthrough for Northwest wind power and cause for celebration among friends of sustainable energy development everywhere,” says Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “What you’re getting here is a signal from one of the most significant participants in the commercial market that wind power is ready for prime time, that it’s marketable and profitable.” “This is a substantial, meaningful action that demonstrates PPM and FPL Energy’s commitment to clean energy,” adds Rachel Shimshak of the Renewable Northwest Project. “At a time when power prices are skyrocketing in the wholesale market and the region is short of power, it is a smart business decision to go with stable-priced, indigenous renewable resources.” PPM will deliver the green power into the regional grid via the transmission lines of Bonneville Power Administration and PacifiCorp. BPA and other utilities will supply electricity from hydroelectric dams to supplement the variable supply from wind turbines, thereby ensuring reliability. PPM is also negotiating with BPA to purchase up to 40 percent of Stateline’s output on behalf of BPA customers. The Stateline project will be developed on both sides of the Washington-Oregon border. The Walla Walla Planning Commission has approved permitting for the Washington portion following a review process and Environmental Impact Study, which included thorough avian, botanical and cultural resource studies. Additional spring and fall night bird migration studies will be conducted to determine location of some turbines. Once in operation, the project will monitor avian and bat impact though a program approved and periodically reviewed by a technical advisory committee consisting of scientists, representatives of government agencies, local landowners, environmentalists and FPL Energy. Construction is planned for next month, and FPL Energy has purchased the necessary equipment. Stateline will be an economic boost to rural Washington and Oregon. Located on private farmland, the project will provide income to farmers while leaving land available for crops. It is estimated the project will add millions in revenue to the local economy and create an average of 150 construction jobs with a peak need of 350 workers. PacifiCorp serves 1.5 million customers with electricity in six western states. PPM is a non-regulated subsidiary that develops and markets energy in the West. FPL Group has annual revenues of $6 billion and one of the largest providers of electricity-related services in the U.S. Its subsidiary, Florida Power & Light, serves 3.9 million customers in Florida.