Stateline Wind Energy Center is the Northwest’s largest commercial
facility to generate electricity using wind. It is located near
Touchet, WA and began operating in December of 2001.
Wind Energy Center is located on Vansycle Ridge,a crest of land
straddling the WashingtonOregon border, near Touchet, WA and
Pendleton, OR. The ridge catches winds from the Columbia Gorge,
which average 16 to 18 mph; this is considered excellent for wind
The area around the project is used mostly for private farming,and
this will continue beneath the completed wind project. The site
is also close to preexisting transmission lines, reducing the need
for new cables and minimizes the amount of power lost during transmission.
A total of 454 turbines are currently operating in both states.
One expansion is proposed for the Washington side, and several are
proposed for Oregon; these expansions are currently under review.
The Stateline Wind Energy Center will use 660kW Vestas wind turbines,
and will collectively produce a maximum output of 300 megawatts
(MW) of electricity. On average the project is expected to receive
enough wind to deliver 30 to 35 percent of its peak capacity yearroundenough
power for about 72,000 Northwest homes.
Electronic control systems point each turbine into the wind and
adjust the pitch of the blades to make the best use of wind at any
speed. The turbines can generate power at wind speeds of 7 to 56
mph. At higher speeds the turbines automatically shut downa
feature which allows them to withstand hurricane-force winds.
The Stateline wind project was planned carefully and underwent extensive
review to minimize its environmental impact. Early biological studies
indicated that the site receives little use by birds or other vulnerable
species. The project uses tubular towers and buried cables in order
to avoid adding new perching places for birds. Slower-moving blades
and an upwind design futher minimize any potential for avian fataility.
As a clean power source, the project also eliminates some of the
need for fossil fuel electric plants in the region. If natural gas
were used to generate the same amount of power, they would emit
about 330,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, as well as air pollutants
and acid rain precursors. Wind power produces no air emissions.
The $300 million wind farm is being built by FPL Energy, Inc., a
subsidiary of Florida Power & Light Co. and a major developer of
renewable energy sources in the U.S.. Wind power typically costs
slightly more than traditional coal and natural gas facilities up
front, but less in the long run. With today’s volatile fossil fuel
prices, wind can be cheaper than natural gas to bring on-line. The
wind farm will be operated under a contract with Pacific Power Marketing.
Like other renewable energy projects, the Stateline wind project
benefits the local and national economy. It will pay royalties to
the farmers who own the underlying land, without disturbing their
farming practices, and it will pay taxes to local governments. It
will also increase local economic activity by hiring people to build,
operate and maintain the wind farm and roads. Construction alone
will infuse over $15 million into the local economy, and ongoing
maintenance and operations will employ at least 15 permanent staff..
The project’s turbines were built by Vestas-American Wind Technology,
a company headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
Stateline Wind Turbine Facts
Blade Length: 76 feet
Turbine Height: 166 feet
Peak Output per Turbine: 660,000 watts (660 kW)
Manufacturer: Vestas American Wind Technology
Operable Wind Speed: 7 to 58 mph
Vansycle Ridge Average Wind Speed: 16 to 18 mph
Number of Turbines (Nov. 2002): 454
Total Project Output: Peak 300 MW (99aMW)
Check out some
photos from the project during the construction
Read about the Vansycle Wind Project
near Pendleton, OR, or Foote Creek Wind Project
Find out more
about Wind Energy Technology.
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