General Electric (GE, New York, N.Y.) announced on Dec. 10 that it has received a $1.4 billion contract from independent power producer Caithness Energy to supply wind turbines and provide services for an 845-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 will be larger than any wind farm currently in operation around the globe.
“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.
Stretching across 30 square miles of Gilliam and Morrow Counties in north-central Oregon, near the town of Arlington, the Shepherds Flat project marks the U.S. debut and largest single global order of GE’s 2.5xl wind turbines. A total of 338 turbines will be installed in 2011 and 2012.
“GE wind turbines have a strong track record of performance that has been proven in nearly every form of climate worldwide. Their ability to continually advance wind turbine technology will help us to provide our customer, Southern California Edison, with the reliability they expect,” added Gelber.
The Shepherds Flat wind farm is the first in North America to deploy GE’s 2.5xl wind turbine, which has been proven in Europe and Asia. “The 2.5-MW wind turbine is the latest evolution of GE’s wind turbine technology and provides customers with greater efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities. The 2.5-MW builds upon the success of GE’s 1.5-MW wind turbine, the world's most widely deployed wind turbine with more than 12,000 installed,” said Bolze.
The project will help California meet both its capacity needs and renewable energy goals. With the capacity to generate 2 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. The project will provide enough clean energy to power approximately 235,000 average California households – according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency methodology – and will avoid more than 1.5 million tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation.