Construction work on what is being touted at the world’s largest wind farm is apparently under way. Recently at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Windpower 2011 Conference, General Electric (GE) announced that the first of its 2.5-100 model wind turbines had been delivered to the Shepherds Flat wind farm site in north-central Oregon.
GE stated that a team of its logistics, service and project manager personnel have been working with the wind farm’s developer, Caithness Energy, to help manage deliveries of the massive wind turbine parts in such a way as to ensure a smooth installation process. Some of those team members, who will be responsible for operations and maintenance for the first 10 years of the wind farm’s operations, have apparently been training on some this model of wind turbine at the company’s “Energy Learning Center” in Salzbergen, Germany.
The parts for the turbines are being manufactured at facilities GE owns in Pensacola, Florida and Tehachapi, California. Given that the Shepherds Flat project calls for a total of 338 wind turbines, it is likely that drivers along interstates 5 and 84 in Oregon will be seeing plenty of turbine columns, blades and hubs on the beds of truck trailers as they make their way to the 30 square-mile project site located near Arlington, Oregon. GE reportedly expects 200 of the turbines to be delivered by the end of this year, with the balance delivered sometime in 2012.
Once completed, Shepherd’s Flat is anticipated to generate 845 megawatts of power; enough, according to GE, to power about 235,000 homes. The power is being sold to Southern California Edison under three 20-year power purchase agreements. Funding for the project’s development comes by way of GE Energy Financial Services, Google and subsidiaries of ITOCHU Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation along with a healthy $1.3 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.