Commercial Wind Farm Unveiled for Washington State

PPM Energy announced the start of construction of the Big Horn Wind Project near Bickleton, Wash. The 200 MW Big Horn project is expected to be commercially operational in the summer of 2006.

Located in Klickitat County, across the Columbia River and approximately 25 miles from PPM’s existing Klondike Wind Power Plant, the Big Horn project is expected to have a generating capacity of 200 MW. A 200-MW wind farm with a 35 percent capacity factor can provide clean, renewable electricity to more than 57,000 average American homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The Big Horn project will use 133 1.5-MW GE turbines. PPM Energy recently announced the purchase of 500 MW of GE turbines, 300 MW for delivery in 2006 and another 200 MW for delivery in 2007. PPM is in advanced discussions to sell the output of the Big Horn project to a major load-serving entity. This month PPM completed the sale of all output from its 150-MW Shiloh wind project now in construction in Northern California, with purchases by Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Modesto Irrigation District, and the City of Palo Alto. “PPM owns seven wind projects, with Big Horn being the largest wind project we have developed to date,” said Terry Hudgens, PPM Energy’s CEO. “We are pleased with the enthusiasm of Klickitat County and the surrounding community for this outstanding project with many local benefits.” The project will support the local economy through royalty payments to about five landowners and property tax payments to Klickitat County. Up to 200 jobs will be created during the peak of construction and approximately 6 to 8 full-time positions during operation. “Our county recognizes the economic benefits wind power projects bring to our ranchers and we have strongly encouraged wind power development through our energy overlay zone,” said County Commissioner Don Struck. “At the same time, Klickitat County and its residents are proud to be a part of the national effort to increase the use of a non-polluting, renewable energy resource we have in abundance, the wind.” While the entire project spans approximately 15,000 acres, the actual footprint of the turbines and associated facilities uses less than one percent (about 70 acres) of the total acreage. Landowners will continue using the remainder of the land for wheat farming and grazing. “Finding ways to strengthen the County’s agriculture sector is a major goal of our economic development efforts in Klickitat County and wind power projects are an excellent way to achieve that goal,” said Dana Peck, director, Klickitat County Economic Development Department. Approximately 22 miles of newly constructed access roads and nearly seven miles of county roads will be temporarily widened and improved during construction. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-WA) said the wind farm would provide a vital economic boost to Klickitat County, help meet the state’s growing need for electricity, and help reduce the nation’s overdependence on fossil fuels. Information courtesy of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
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