If work goes according to plan, 338 new wind turbines will be producing as much 845 MW of electricity in north-central Oregon by 2012. The “Shepherds Flat” wind farm will be spread across 30 square miles in north-central Oregon, approximately 120 miles due west of Portland.
This is the first time the GE-made 2.5xl turbines will be used in the US, but 100 of the large turbines (rotor blades are 100 meters long — about 330 feet) have already logged over a million hours of energy production in in Europe and Asia. The wind farm will be owned by New York-based Caithness Energy with the power generated supplying electricity to Southern California Energy customers.
Supporters of the large project stress the estimated 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided by replacing fossil fuels as the energy source. Critics in Oregon will likely question the wisdom in exporting wind power to the giant state to the south (as they have before on similar but smaller projects). The plan to build 90-miles of new electric power lines to connect the wind farm to the existing grid is also bound to raise concern.
GE Energy spokeswoman Milissa Rocker said in a phone interview this morning that the turbines will be assembled in the US, primarily at a GE facility in Pensacola, Florida.