The 22 new turbines at the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility east of Ellensburg are up and running and are expected to begin putting power into the grid in about 45 days.
Officials of Puget Sound Energy, owner and operator of the renewable energy facility east of Ellensburg, indicated the 45-day target was an estimate that could change.
The additional turbines atop towers north of the existing 127-turbine wind farm were “energized” last week, said David Bowen, Puget Sound Energy’s municipal liaison manager for Central Washington.
Currently the new turbines, mostly spread on 1,260 acres north of the existing 8,600-acre wind farm, are in a testing and monitoring mode, Bowen said.
The 1,260 acres includes 960 acres purchased by PSE and the remainder are leased state lands, according to past announcements.
The estimated $100 million project to add the turbines began with road construction in April, foundations of the towers were completed in May and June and towers, turbines, blades and other equipment began going up in July.
At the peak of work in late summer, it’s estimated more than 100 workers were at the expansion site on the north slopes of Whisky Dick Mountain 17 miles east of Ellensburg.
The added turbines bring the total towers to 149, raising the wind farm’s generating capacity from 229 megawatts to 273 megawatts.
Bowen said ongoing work to expand the onsite substation to handle the extra power load is estimated to be completed in about 45 days.
Work also is under way to rehabilitate areas disturbed by construction, including reseeding and putting in native plantings.
The wind farm project was initially approved by state and Kittitas County government for up to 158 turbines. The wind farm’s initial 127 turbines began full operation in December 2006. That initial project was estimated at $380 million.
By MIKE JOHNSTON, Daily Record – http://www.kvnews.com/articles/2009/10/09/news/doc4acf913abba78843555915.txt