GE has received a $1.4 billion contract from independent power producer Caithness Energy to supply wind turbines and provide services for an 845-megawatt (MW) wind farm project to be located in Oregon. The wind farm, called Shepherds Flat, has received the majority of the necessary government permits to operate and is ready to be built.
Construction will begin in 2010 and will be completed in 2012. When completed it will be larger than any wind farm currently in operation around the globe.
Stretching across 30 square miles of Gilliam and Morrow Counties in north-central Oregon, near the town of Arlington, the 845-megawatt Shepherds Flat project marks the US debut and largest single global order of GE’s 2.5xl wind turbines, which has been proven in Europe and Asia. A total of 338 turbines will be installed in 2011 and 2012.
The 2.5-MW wind turbine is the latest evolution of GE’s wind turbine technology and provides customers with greater efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities. The 2.5-MW builds upon the success of GE’s 1.5-MW wind turbine, the world’s most widely deployed wind turbine with more than 12,000 installed.
—Steve Bolze, president & CEO of GE Power & Water
The 2.5 MW wind turbine is equipped with a permanent magnet generator, delivering high efficiency even at low wind speeds. Compared to a conventional doubly-fed system, GE says, the efficiency in the partial load range is higher, resulting in increased revenues for wind power producers. Employing magnets instead of copper coils in the generator rotor reduces electrical losses in the generator and current flow through the rotating parts of the generator.
Under three 20-year power purchase agreements, the Shepherds Flat wind farm will supply renewable energy to Southern California Edison, an Edison International company. With the capacity to generate two billion kilowatt-hours per year of renewable energy, the wind farm will represent more than one-tenth of Southern California Edison’s overall renewable energy portfolio.
The development of the wind farm is made possible because of California’s renewables portfolio standard, which if adopted nationally in the form of a strong renewable electricity standard would propel the growth of renewable energy throughout the country, GE said.