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The Green Life: World's Largest Wind Farm Set For...Oregon?

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December 17, 2009

World's Largest Wind Farm Set For...Oregon?

Oregon gets world's largest wind farm To the average American, Oregon (or Idaho’s Portugal to Stephen Colbert) might seem like a far off land forever enshrouded by cloudy skies and a relentless downpour. But while a closer look would reveal an untapped sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts in rivers, mountains, lakes, and deserts, on top of an up-and-coming city in Portland where organic beer and biking is becoming the norm, the state will surely turn heads in the environmental world for having the largest wind farm in the world.

West Texas’ 781.5-megawatt wind farm, having officially started generating power in early October after taking two years two construct 627 wind turbines, will be dwarfed by General Electric’s newly granted $1.4 billion contract to develop Shepherd’s Flat, a 845-megawatt wind farm stretching across 30 square miles in north-central Oregon.

Not only will the project unveil the company’s new 2.5-MW wind turbine, but the construction, set to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2012, will give a much-needed boost to a hurting Oregon economy (the job will employ 400 workers during construction and 35 during operation). The wind farm will go directly to help meet California’s renewable energy needs and goals, generating two billion kilowatt-hours per year, which will be enough to power 235,000 average California homes.

Although it will be a couple years before they are functioning – and for all we know in 2012 Texas might attempt to retake its wind farm crown – investing in a significant amount of renewable energy will surely brighten US environmentalists’ spirits (at least temporarily) after a so far uneventful and frustrating Copenhagen climate summit.

--Michael Mullaley


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