World's Largest Wind Energy Farm Gets $1.3B U.S. Loan Guarantee
Oregon's Shepherd's Flat wind farm, with an expected 835 MW capacity, is expected to begin producing wind energy by the end of 2011
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy demonstrated its faith in wind energy by granting a $1.3 billion loan guarantee to support Caithness Energy's proposed Shepherd's Flat wind farm. Construction on the eastern Oregon wind farm is expected to begin by September 2011, and the farm is expected to start producing wind energy by the end of next year.
When completed, the wind farm will have an 835-megawatt capacity, making it the largest onshore producer of wind energy in the world. The proposed Shepherd's Flat wind farm will use the latest available wind energy technology , including 338 GE 2.5xl wind turbines that are each capable of generating 2.5 megawatts or power.
Even before the Department of Energy stepped in to guarantee the wind farm's loan, the proposed Shepherd's Flat wind farm had plenty of backers, due mostly to a Power Purchase Agreement with Southern California Edison. The utilities company has agreed to buy all of the wind energy generated at the Shepherd's Flat wind farm for the next 20 years. Southern California Edison benefits from this agreement both because it gets the produced wind energy for a fixed rate and because it can use the renewable energy credits it earns to meet its 20% quota.
The inception of the Shepherd's Flat wind farm demonstrates that a strong demand for sources of alternative energy exists. It also shows that both the federal government and the utility companies view wind energy as a viable means of producing this energy. The state-mandated requirements for alternative energy in states with large markets, such as California, make it likely that alternative energy source, such as wind energy, will continue to grow and flourish.