The last of 149 wind turbines went up recently at the Lower Snake River Wind Project in southeast Washington. The project is one of the largest wind-power plants in the Pacific Northwest, capable of generating enough electricity to power 100,000 homes.
Now that the turbines are up, crews are working to finish construction on two substations that will send the plant’s electricity to the Bonneville Power Adminsitration substation, where the renewable energy flows onto the region’s electricty grid. Puget Sound Energy (PSE), the lead contractor on the project, expects the entire project to be up and running by next spring.
Construction of the Lower Snake River Wind Project began in May 2010 (we reported on the first turbine going in back in April this year). Southeast Washington’s strong winds actually made it difficult for the crews to erect the wind turbines on schedule. Since March, gusty winds delayed or interrupted turbine assembly on 79 separate days. But now that the turbines are in place strong winds are not only encouraged, they are necessary.
PSE’s staff will manage the production and transmission of the wind facility’s electric power, all 343 megawatts, while Siemens employees will be responsible for all maintenance of the wind turbines. Some of the turbine components are manufactured at Siemens plants in Iowa and Kansas. About 150 construction workers have been hired for the nearly two year project. A PSE video on the project and its impact on the local community is immediately below.