Renewable Energy Leaders, Oregon Elected Officials and Sherman County Community Celebrate the State's Newest Wind Power Projects
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October 6, 2008
WASCO, Ore. - Testing grounds for new technology and training sites for wind technicians, Iberdrola Renewables' wind generation projects in Oregon reached a major milestone today with the opening of the newly constructed Klondike III and IIIa facilities.
Renewable energy leaders, elected officials, students and the Sherman County community gathered in the wheat fields east of Wasco, Ore., to celebrate the opening of Klondike III and IIIa. The new projects encompass 176 new turbines, which generate power for Bonneville Power Administration, Eugene Water & Power Board, Puget Sound Energy and others.
Altogether, Klondike I, II, III and IIIa generate a total of 400 megawatts (MW). Typically 400 MW of installed wind generation can produce enough power for more than 115,000 homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association's calculation.
"As our flagship site in the Northwest, Klondike stands for the responsible growth of renewable power," said Don Furman, senior vice president for development, transmission, and policy at Iberdrola Renewables. "We are committed to supporting the community and providing training opportunities for the next generation of wind technicians needed around the country."
Project developer Iberdrola Renewables donated $50,000 a year for three years to Columbia Gorge Community College for its renewable energy training program, the first of its kind on the West Coast.
"Columbia Gorge Community College wants to recognize Iberdrola Renewables for being a strong partner for our Renewable Energy Technology program," said Dr. Susan Wolff, chief academic officer at the college. "They were the first wind energy company to provide financial support for the program, in addition to making facilities and personnel available to meet with our faculty and students. We extend our congratulations for the completion of Klondike III and look forward to a continued strong relationship with the company."
Technicians who train at Klondike gain experience with cutting-edge turbine technology. The Klondike III project is the North American test site for the flagship Mitsubishi 2.4 megawatt (MW), 92-meter rotor wind turbine manufactured in Japan. The turbine is designed for superior performance and resistance to storm winds and lightning strikes, among other enhancements.
Klondike II has also been the U.S. test site for the prototype XLE wind turbine debuting an 82-meter rotor coupled with the well-proven GE Energy 1.5 MW turbine platform.
This new technology is a boon to Klondike's customers, who are increasingly incorporating renewable power into their portfolios.
"We are working with wind energy developers, utilities and other stakeholders to enable more renewable energy production in the Northwest," said Elliot Mainzer, vice president for corporate strategy for Bonneville Power Administration. "With continued collaboration, we are confident that wind power will continue to be a valuable renewable energy source in the Northwest power mix."
The Eugene Water & Electric Board is also a Klondike customer.
"Since our inception nearly 100 years ago, Eugene's publicly owned utility has focused on the long-term physical health and financial security of our customers," said Commissioner Ron Farmer of the Eugene Water & Electric Board. "Investments in environmentally sustainable and financially sound sources of energy have been our hallmark. We view our participation in Klondike III as a proud addition to that legacy."
Klondike continues to stand as an example of responsible development for its conservation of land and wildlife. The turbines only take up about two percent of the private land leased for wind power production, leaving the remainder free for traditional activities, such as wheat farming. Iberdrola Renewables continues to work closely with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"Siting these wind facilities on cultivated land is a win-win proposition," said Chip Dale, High Desert region manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Farmers win by getting paid, and wildlife win as well, since a minimum amount of native wildlife habitat is lost to development. Iberdrola Renewables has been a great company to work with. They have consistently hired qualified staff and consultants to work on wildlife resource issues."
"I commend the forward-thinking work and dedication of Iberdrola Renewables and its partners in this great community. As a lifelong resident of the Columbia River Gorge area, I've sure seen this area lead the way in the smart energy field and today's launch of the new Klondike projects further bolsters Oregon's great national reputation for renewables," said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and vice chairman of the House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus. "I strongly supported the extension in Congress last week of the wind production tax credit, but we need to do more to foster the growth of additional projects like Klondike. It's time for Congress to get serious and provide wind and other renewable technologies stability so that businesses can make long-term investment decisions, and the country can get on track for a long-term renewable energy plan that will help wean us from foreign oil."
Iberdrola Renewables is currently the world's leading provider of wind power with more than 8,000 MW of wind power in operation globally now. Between 2008-2012, the company will invest $26.8 billion globally to achieve installed capacity of close to 18,000 MW and production of more than 42,000 GWh. Iberdrola Renewables will invest $8 billion in the U.S. between 2008 and 2012 and plans to install 1,000 MW of wind power each year in the U.S. www.iberdrolarenewables.us.