Wind power in Oregon

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Wind turbines in eastern Oregon

The U.S. state of Oregon has vast wind energy resources. Many projects have been completed, most of them in rural Eastern Oregon and near the Columbia River Gorge.

Legislative actions[edit]

Laws passed by the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 1999 and 2007 have aimed to encourage both small and large wind projects. Oregon passed a net metering law in 1999 that helped encourage installation of small wind power systems.[1] As of 2008, a handful of Oregonians have installed small-scale wind-power systems to reduce their carbon footprint.[2] In 2009, 691 MW of wind-powered capacity was added in Oregon, the fourth biggest increase in the U.S. that year.[3]

Under Senate Bill 838, wind, solar, geothermal and other types of renewable power must account for 25 percent of an electric utility's retail sales by 2025. Intermediate requirements set the standard at 5 percent by 2011, climbing gradually until 2025.[4]


Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world as of 2009, has its North American headquarters in Portland.[5][6] Iberdrola Renewables, one of the larger wind farm operators, also bases their American offices in Portland.


2002 image from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory showing Oregon's estimated wind power resources


While originally estimated to have nearly 5,000 megawatts of potential onshore capacity by the American Wind Energy Association, a comprehensive update of the wind energy potential by state released in 2010 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory showed that Oregon has potential to install over 27,000 megawatts of onshore wind power.[7] A 2012 report lists the offshore wind potential at 225,000 MW, capable of generating 962,723 million kWh.[8]

Installed growth[edit]

Oregon Wind Generation Capacity by Year
Megawatts of Installed Generating Capacity[9][10][11]

Installed wind power capacity in Oregon has seen large growth in recent years and Oregon now ranks among the top ten states with the most wind power installed. Climbing from 1 percent in the early 2000s (decade), wind power accounted for 12.4 percent of total electricity generated in Oregon during 2013.[12][13]

The figure at below right shows the growth in wind power installed nameplate capacity in MW for Oregon since 2001.[9][10]

Notable projects[edit]

Large wind farms in Oregon
Station Location Capacity (MW) Status Notes
Shepherds Flat Wind Farm Gilliam and Morrow Counties 845 Operational [14]
Biglow Canyon Wind Farm Sherman County 450 Operational [15]
Klondike Wind Farm Sherman County 399 Operational [15][16]
Vansycle Wind Project Umatilla County 124 Operational [15]
Stateline Wind Project Umatilla County 123 Operational [15]

In 2009 General Electric was awarded a $1.48 billion contract to build the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm.[17] The 845-megawatt project uses over 300 turbines and spans across 30 square miles (78 km2) of Gilliam and Morrow Counties in north-central Oregon.[18] When it was completed in September 2012, it became the largest wind farm in Oregon, and the second largest in the world, although many larger ones are planned. It was completed in 2012 to take advantage of the 2.2 cent/kWh Production Tax Credit.[19][20]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oregon Wind Activities
  2. ^ Tims, Dana (June 22, 2009). "Oregon farmer cuts costs with wind power". The Seattle Post Intelligencer. 
  3. ^ Preusch, Matthew (January 30, 2010). "Oregon fourth among states for new wind capacity". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon). Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  4. ^ Kinsey-Hill, Gail (April 11, 2007). "Power bill glides through Senate". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon). 
  5. ^ Williams, Christina (July 21, 2010). "Vestas lands record turbine order". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ Schreyer, Andreas (July 23, 2010). "Vestas Breaks U.S. Wind Market Lull". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (February 4, 2010). "State wind energy potential (2010)". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  8. ^ Renewable Energy Technical Potential
  9. ^ a b "Wind Powering America: Installed U.S. Wind Capacity and Wind Project Locations". U.S. Department of Energy. February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (April 29, 2011). "Installed Wind Capacity by State". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  11. ^ AWEA 4th quarter 2011 Market Report, American Wind Energy Association, January 2011
  12. ^ Preusch, Matthew (October 29, 2009). "Wind energy's success creates a power grid challenge". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon). Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  13. ^ "American wind power reaches major power generation milestones in 2013". American Wind Energy Association. March 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ "World's largest wind farm coming to Oregon". Retrieved January 16, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d Staff (July 2010). "U.S. Wind Energy Projects - Oregon". American Wind Energy Association. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  16. ^ "U.S. Wind Energy Projects". American Wind Energy Association. September 30, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2009. 
  17. ^ Brown, Tim (December 15, 2009). "General Electric lands $1.4 billion contract to build wind farm in Oregon". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon). Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  18. ^ Galbraith, Kate (December 10, 2009). "$1.4 Billion Oregon Wind Deal Announced". New York Times blog. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  19. ^ Google Invests $100 Million In Oregon Wind Farm
  20. ^ Shepherds Flat wind farm fully operational in US with 845MW
  21. ^ "Generation Annual". U.S. Department of Energy. July 10, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  22. ^ EIA electricity data browser
  23. ^ EIA (December 20, 2013). "Electric Power Monthly". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]