845-MW Shepherds Flat Wind Farm Marks Opening

“This project has created jobs during a very tough time for rural areas of Oregon, and has added to the tax base as counties are struggling to provide basic services,” Walden said in a statement. “Moreover, the wind energy produced at Caithness Shepherds Flat will be part of an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that this country so desperately needs.”

Caithness Shepherds Flat

image via Caithness Shepherds Flat

Caithness Energy said Shepherds Flat “will eliminate 1.483 million metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 260,000 cars off the road.” The company said the turbines will spin out “an estimated 2 billion kilowatt-hours each year,” equivalent to the total used by 173,000 average Oregon homes annually. Some 400 workers were on the job building the wind farm for more than two years, and 45 workers will be employed operating and maintaining it.

Shepherds Flat apparently took advantage of the investment tax credit cash grant instead of the production tax credit for wind. But the cash grant option for the investment tax credit is gone, and without Congressional action in the lame-duck session later this year, the PTC will be, too, for projects not completed by the end of the year. Job losses are already mounting throughout the industry supply chain, and the American Wind Energy Association predicts the expiration of the PTC could result in the loss of 37,000 jobs.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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