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. As of 2008, a handful of Oregonians have installed small-scale wind-power systems to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2009, 691 MW of wind-powered capacity was added in Oregon, the fourth biggest increase in the U.S. that year.
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.
Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world as of 2009, has its North American headquarters in Portland. Iberdrola Renewables, one of the larger wind farm operators, also bases their American offices in Portland.
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. A 2012 report lists the offshore wind potential at 225,000 MW, capable of generating 962,723 million kWh.
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.
In 2009 General Electric was awarded a $1.48 billion contract to build the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm. 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. 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.