Running A Wind Farm Nation From Oregon

Iberdrola Renewables, one of the largest renewable energy providers in the world, has been busy making itself at home in Portland, Oregon. Last month it hosted a public get to know us event and now it has formally opened up operations in what is said to be one of the most advanced renewable energy control facilities in the United States.

The Portland control center will allow Iberdrola to monitor and remotely control all of its U.S. wind farms and substations year round from this one location. The technology inside this facility is similar to another one the company opened in Toledo, Spain in 2003. More than 50 people worked on developing the project, and “25 highly-qualified professionals” trained mainly in renewable energy, IT and telecommunications will man the facility to control over 800,000 inputs from 2,500 turbines across the country in real time.

Iberdrola Control Center

image via Iberdrola Renewables

It is said the control center collects information from the various wind farms and substations via local control and data systems. All information coming from these remote systems is presented to those in the center “in an organized and simplified format enabling them to swiftly detect and analyze any breakdowns or stoppages. Using this diagnosis, decisions can then be taken either at the main control center or at the company’s on-site operation or maintenance on-call service centers which helps limit down times and increases the availability of each facility.”

Iberdrola is the second largest renewables operator in the U.S., where it is present in 23 states. It has installed capacity of 3,877 MW spread over 41 wind farms, with some 850 MW currently under construction. It plans to install 1,000 MW per year in the US in 2011 and 2012. 800 people in the United States are employed with the company, which is said to be nearly half of its total staff.

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.