Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oregon's Power Potential (6/8) Wind


Wind is clearly the renewable power source that has been growing the fastest. There are plans to build a massive 909 MW wind farm in Oregon. When completed in 2012, the facility will be one of the largest wind power sites anywhere in the world. The wind-rich area of Oregon has become known as one of the country’s ‘bread-baskets’ of wind energy. Oregon might be looking to take that #2 spot from Texas on the list of the nation’s leading producers of renewable energy.

The installation will be located in a 30-mile radius area in Morrow and Gilliam counties in North-Central Oregon. It will use 303 wind turbines; each one 3MW. The project, called Caithness Shepherd’s Flat, will generate an estimated two billion kWh (2 Terawatt-hours) of energy annually.

Offshore Wind
Offshore wind turbines are generally secured directly to the ocean floor. Along the Oregon coastline, the ocean gets deep quickly. This means that traditional offshore turbines would not be practical here. However, since wave energy projects would be installing the cabling infrastructure to move the energy into the grid, one idea that is being 'floated' is to add floating offshore wind turbines. This expands the scope of the wave energy projects.

This was a controversial proposal for the little coastal town of Garibaldi. Fisherman, environmentalists, regulators, and people worried about the view all voiced their concerns at an October 2008 meeting.

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