Shepherds Flat Wind Farm
|Shepherds Flat Wind Farm|
|Location||Near Arlington, Oregon|
|Make and model||General Electric|
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is a 845 megawatt (MW) wind farm in the U.S. state of Oregon. The facility is located in Eastern Oregon in both Morrow and Gilliam counties, near Arlington. Approved in 2008 by state regulators, groundbreaking came in 2009. The wind farm was built by Caithness Energy using General Electric (GE) 2.5 MW wind turbines, and it supplies electricity to Southern California Edison. The wind farm is estimated to have an economic impact of $16 million annually for Oregon. It is one of the largest land-based wind farms in the world. It officially opened in September 2012.
The wind farm is located in Eastern Oregon in both Morrow and Gilliam counties, with the majority of the turbines to be in Gilliam County. Oregon provided tax incentives to the developer to help land the facility, but the project is expected to provide Gilliam County with about $5 million annually in taxes and fees when it is operating. Shepherds Flat is entirely on private property approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of the city of Arlington between Oregon Route 19 and Oregon Route 74. Construction on the project is expected to employ 400 people to build 90 miles (140 km) of power lines and 85 miles (137 km) of roads on the 30-square-mile (78 km2) wind farm.
Plans for the project first came in 2002 for a 105 megawatt project, with the plan changed to larger project in 2004. The project was then submitted to the state in 2006 with plans to have the first phase online in 2008. Early plans called for 303 turbines and a generating capacity of 909 megawatts. At the time, it would have doubled the capacity for wind-generated power in Oregon. The farm is divided into several sections, with the Willow Creek Wind Farm between two of the larger segments.
Approved in 2008 by state regulators, groundbreaking came in 2009. The project design now includes 338 GE2.5XL turbines built by GE Wind Energy, each with a capacity to produce 2.5 megawatts, and used for the first time in USA. These turbines and a ten-year service contract cost a total of $1.4 billion, the largest expense on the estimated $2 billion project. In December 2010, the Department of Energy (DOE) offered a $1.3 billion loan guarantee for the project. The insurance fee for the loan guarantee would be paid from federal stimulus money through the Financial Institution Partnership Program. Generating capacity will be 845 megawatts, producing an estimated 2 billion kW·h each year, enough to provide electricity to 235,000 homes. Once operational, the facility will have about 35 permanent employees. The wind farm is estimated to have an economic impact of $16 million annually for Oregon.
In April 2011, Google announced they had invested $100 million in the project, part of a $500 million investment package announced by GE and including as investors, also, subsidiaries of Itochu Corp. and Sumitomo Corp..  The facility was officially opened on September 22, 2012.
There are concerns that have been raised by taxpayer watchdog groups and various blogs. They point out that large private ranch owners in the area will receive up to $12,000 annually per turbine leased on their land while they have already received tens of millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies over the years and then benefiting from taxpayer subsidies of the wind energy industry. Some local ranchers due to benefit or already benefiting from the partially government subsidized wind energy projects were published as receiving nearly $1 million in government agricultural subsidies in 2008 alone.
- Biglow Canyon Wind Farm
- Wind power in the United States
- Wind power in Oregon
- List of onshore wind farms
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