By Dorothy Davis
Caithness Energy has commenced commercial operations at the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm, an array of 338 GE turbines generating up to 845-megawatts of clean energy located in northeastern Oregon.
The massive project has proven controversial both because the Pacific Northwest has seen problems in the past with an overabundance of wind energy, but also because the wind farm received nearly $1.24 billion in subsidies and a $1.3 billion Department of Energy loan guarantee for a project with a total cost of $1.9 billion, according to Greentech Media.
However, The New York Times notes that prospects for the loans to be repaid are strong, with Caithness already securing sales to Southern California Edison. The project also remains popular among Oregon's legislators who tout the wind farm’s extensive environmental and economic benefits.
According to Caithness, Shepherds Flat will eliminate 1.483 million metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 260,000 cars off the road. In addition to its environmental benefits, the company outlines the wind farm will bolster Oregon’s economy with an annual economic impact of $37 million and the creation of 45 permanent position.
“It’s great news that the Shepherds Flat project is now complete,” said Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said in a news release. “Oregon is now host to one of the largest on-shore wind farms in the world, further establishing its role as a leader in the new clean energy economy. We can now look forward to 845 megawatts of new clean energy coming on the grid.”
U.S. starts up 845 MW Shepherds Flat Wind Farm
By Dorothy Davis