GE Receives US $1.4B Wind Turbine Contract from Caithness Energy

Despite concerns that wind development has stalled as the world’s economy lurches toward recovery, GE has received one of the largest wind turbine supply contracts ever signed. The deal, which is valued at US $1.4 billion was signed with developer Caithness Energy to supply wind turbines and provide services for an 845-megawatt (MW) wind farm project to be located in Oregon. The wind farm, called Shepherds Flat, has received the majority of the necessary government permits to operate and is ready to be built. When completed it is expected to be larger than any wind farm currently in operation around the globe.

Stretching across 30 square miles of Gilliam and Morrow Counties in north-central Oregon, the 845-MW Shepherds Flat will be the U.S. debut of GE’s 2.5xl wind turbines. A total of 338 turbines will be installed in 2011 and 2012. Electricity generated by the project will be sold to Southern California Edison under three 20-year power purchase agreements.

“This project underscores our commitment to harness the power of wind to meet present and future energy needs while reducing greenhouse emissions. The Shepherds Flat project will add more renewable energy to the west coast’s energy mix and help the region meet its demand for clean energy,” said Les Gelber, a partner at Caithness Energy.

Caithness Energy estimates that the US $2 billion project will inject $16 million annually of direct economic benefits into Oregon, and will employ 400 workers during construction and 35 during operation.

Construction will take place all at once because of the large number of turbines that need to be installed and because 85 miles of road and 90 miles of power connection to the grid will need to be built. Construction will begin in 2010 and will be completed in 2012. GE Energy Financial Services is investing in the project.

“This is a smart investment in a well structured, contracted power project with an experienced developer using the nation’s best technology,” said Alex Urquhart, president & CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.

In addition to supplying the wind turbines, GE will provide ten years of operational and maintenance services to the project. The 2.5xl wind turbines for the Shepherds Flat wind farm will be assembled at GE’s site in Pensacola, Florida.

With the capacity to generate two billion kilowatt-hours per year of renewable energy, the wind farm will represent more than one-tenth of Southern California Edison’s overall renewable energy portfolio.

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