- THE MAGAZINE
GE recently announced 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-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 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,” said Les Gelber, a partner at Caithness Energy. “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.”
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 2.5 x l 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,” said Gelber. “Their ability to continually advance wind turbine technology will help us to provide our customer, Southern California Edison, with the reliability they expect.”
“The Caithness project highlights our ability to deliver integrated solutions in the clean energy space, and it supports our overarching focus to provide first-in-class technology to our customers,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water. “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.”
Caithness Energy estimates that the $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 be on a grand scale, not only because of the large number of turbines, but because 85 miles of road and 90 miles of power connection to the grid will be built. Construction will begin in 2010 and will be completed in 2012. In addition to supplying the wind turbines, GE will provide 10 years of operational and maintenance services to the project.
The 2.5 x l wind turbines for the Shepherds Flat wind farm will be assembled at GE’s site in Pensacola, Fla. “Our capability to build these machines here in the United States and provide local resources and expertise were key factors in winning the contract with Caithness Energy,” said Bolze.
Under three 20-year power purchase agreements, the Shepherds Flat wind farm will supply renewable energy to Southern California Edison, an Edison International company. “As the nation’s leading utility for renewable energy, we are enthusiastic about the size and quality of this project,” said Marc Ulrich, Southern California Edison’s vice president of Renewable and Alternative Power. “Wind power is an essential component to creating a clean, green energy future for California and the rest of the nation.”
The development of the wind farm is made possible because of California's renewables portfolio standard, which, if adopted nationally in the form of a strong renewable electricity standard, would propel the growth of renewable energy throughout the country. The project will help California meet both its capacity needs and renewable energy goals. 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. 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 per year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation.
Visit www.ge.com for more information.