Washington’s Largest Wind-Power Site Begins Generating Electricity

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb 29, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) –
Washington’s newest and largest wind farm — the Lower
Snake River Wind Facility-Phase I — today began commercial
operations, providing Puget Sound Energy’s 1.1 million electric
customers with more renewable, emissions-free power.

The new facility’s 149 wind turbines — set among the wind-blown farm
lands of Garfield County, in southeast Washington — will generate enough
electricity, on average, to power about 100,000 homes.

“This is an important milestone for our customers and for the people of
Garfield County,” said Kimberly Harris, president and CEO of PSE. “With
this new facility, our region is getting new jobs and a new source of
clean energy.”

The 343-megawatt (MW) Lower Snake River project is PSE’s third wind
farm. The utility’s 157-MW Hopkins
Ridge Wind Facility, built in 2005, is in Columbia County. The
273-MW Wild
Horse Wind and Solar Facility, built in 2006 and expanded in 2009,
is in Kittitas County. Together, the three sites generate enough
electricity, on average, to meet the total power requirements of
approximately 230,000 households.

“The Lower Snake River project has created more economic activity in
Garfield County than we’ve seen since the early 1970s, when Lower
Granite Dam was being built,” said Alesia Ruchert, Garfield County
managing director for the Southeast Washington Economic Development
Association. “It’s been a definite shot in the arm.”

“I believe the project’s success can be attributed to two things,” she
added. “One is our county’s strong agricultural heritage and stewardship
practices, which have laid the foundation for partnering in
resource-based projects such as this. The other is the fact that PSE has
demonstrated the neighborliness and pioneering spirit ingrained in our
local heritage.”

PSE began construction of the Lower Snake River Wind Facility in May
2010 with the help of lead contractor Renewable Energy Systems Americas
Inc. (RES Americas), wind-turbine manufacturer Siemens Energy, and a
variety of subcontractors. PSE also partnered with RES on the
construction of the utility’s Hopkins Ridge and Wild Horse wind farms.

“RES Americas was excited to be part of this large wind-energy project,
which provided hundreds of jobs and major economic benefits to the
Washington community. This project epitomized what wind energy can
provide the country,” said Jason Zingerman, vice president of
Construction for RES Americas. “Our continued success with PSE is
another example of our commitment to provide utilities with renewable
energy development and construction expertise.”

Approximately 25 permanent employees from PSE and Siemens Energy now
operate the facility and maintain its wind turbines. They are based out
of PSE’s new operations and maintenance center in Pomeroy. About 150
workers, on average, were on site during the Lower Snake River project’s
two-year construction, though the number at times exceeded 250.

The Lower Snake River wind farm spans more than 21,600 acres in western
Garfield County. The footprint of its wind turbines, substations, access
roads and eight-mile corridor of transmission-line poles covers just 200
acres; the rest of the site remains available for farming, livestock
grazing and open space. Nearly the entire site is privately owned
agricultural land.

The wind facility’s power output ties into the Northwest electric grid
at the Bonneville Power Administration’s newly completed Central Ferry
substation, constructed along the wind farm’s northern boundary. Lower
Snake River power moves across BPA transmission lines to reach PSE’s
distribution system. Ninety-nine percent of PSE’s electric customers
reside west of the Cascades in eight Puget Sound counties (the remaining
customers are in Kittitas County).

“BPA recently put in service another large substation on our
transmission system to make sure the energy from this project can begin
its journey to Northwest customers,” said Brian Silverstein, senior vice
president, BPA Transmission Services. “The substation is one of several
facilities built to interconnect wind with the electric grid and will
play a vital role in meeting the region’s current and future energy

Short videos on the new PSE energy facility can be viewed on the Lower
Snake River page of PSE.com. Photos
of the facility also can be viewed on PSE.com.

Key facts about the Lower Snake River Wind Facility-Phase I:

Generating capacity of 343 megawatts; average power output will
serve about 100,000 homes

149 wind turbines, manufactured by Siemens Energy; each turbine has a
2.3-megawatt generating capacity (enough output, on average, to serve
about 700 homes)

Each wind turbine stands 430 feet high from its base to the tip of a
vertical rotor blade

Each turbine assembly weighs 316 tons

Turbine blades are 160 feet long; each turbine’s three-blade rotor is
331 feet in diameter

Each turbine foundation weighs more than 600 tons

The facility’s development and construction, including
transmission-network upgrades for connection to the regional power
grid, cost $830 million.

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state’s oldest local energy utility, Puget Sound Energy
serves more than 1.1 million electric customers and 750,000 natural gas
customers in 11 counties. A subsidiary of Puget Energy, PSE meets the
energy needs of its customers, in part, through cost-effective energy
efficiency, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted
investment in energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are
dedicated to providing great customer service that is safe, dependable
and efficient. For more information, visit
www.PSE.com .

SOURCE: Puget Sound Energy

        Puget Sound Energy 
        Roger Thompson, 1-888-831-725 

Copyright Business Wire 2012


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