Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has signed a new agreement with Portland-based Avangrid Renewables to build a 28,000 acre wind farm in north central Oregon as part of an ongoing effort to expand the utility’s clean energy portfolio.
“This new wind project will enable us to continue to provide clean, reliable electric service to all of our customers,” PSE Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer David Mills said in a statement.
Under the agreement, Avangrid will build the wind farm on dry grazing land and wheat land near the city of Wasco. According to Avangrid, the land has been studied as a potential site via meteorological towers since 2004; typically the company studies a potential wind farm site for at least a year. A company spokesperson also noted that wind turbines will not impact farming or ranching on the properties, which have 39 different landowners, and roads used to install the turbines will be open to farmers and ranchers.
After construction is completed, the wind farm will generate 200 megawatts – the equivalent of powering 60,000 homes annually, and will expand PSE’s wind-generated power capacity to 1,150 megawatts. Although PSE envisions using the wind farm to help meet high-demand periods, the electricity generated cannot be stored.
According to PSE, incorporating the power into the system will require close collaboration with Avangrid. When finished, the wind farm will be Avangrid’s thirteenth project in the region. The clean energy company currently generates 7,000 megawatts from its 70 wind and solar power facilities.
PSE already is the fourth-largest wind power utility in the country, with 385 wind turbines operating on three large wind farms in Kittitas, Columbia and Garfield counties. In total, they produce 772 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 160,000 homes annually.
In recent years PSE has sought to expand its use of renewable energy to help meet requirements under a 2019 state law mandating that utilities provide 100 percent carbon neutral electricity by 2035 and 100 percent clean energy by 2045.
Earlier this year PSE signed a 20-year purchasing agreement with Klickitat County PUD for renewable energy from the H.W. Hill Renewable Natural Gas facility, the fourth largest landfill in the country.