General Electric announced that it’s selling $1.5 billion worth of wind turbines to a company building the nation’s biggest wind farm — in Oregon.
As Krisitan Foden-Vencil reports, the order is good news for an industry that’s been waiting to see how it might fare in the new economy.
General Electric says it’s selling the turbines to New York City-based renewables developer Caithness Energy.
The turbines can produce about 850 megawatts at full speed. That’s enough to power 230,000 homes — or a town the size of Beaverton.
The windmills are expected to be built along a 30 square mile swath of the Columbia River Gorge — near the town of Arlington.
Raymon Smith, the superintendent of the school district there, says parents and kids are talking about well-paid, stable, jobs, maintaining all the new turbines.
Raymon Smith: “When I first got here there was a small wind farm outside of Condon, which is about 40 miles south of us. But all of these, the thousands that have come in, have all happened within the last two years.”
A lot of wind has been taken out of the sails of the alternative energy industry recently. So Rachel Schimshak, the director of Renewable Energy Northwest, says the Caithness deal is good news.
Rachel Schimshak: “We’ve seen a slow down in the number of projects of course due to the economic slowdown generally, and the lack of available capital and tax partners to be able to participate in these projects. So this is a good sign for the economy of the state and especially for the rural communities.”
Smith says people he talks to in the community are focused on jobs that windmills would bring, more than spoiled views or the environmental impact.
Raymon Smith: “In general they’re out on the farmlands, out of town. And people see it as an opportunity for our county to continue growing and to bring in needed jobs and needed resources.”
About 50 wind farms are operating around the Pacific Northwest. A dozen new ones are under construction and another 40 have received the necessary permits and are just waiting for the right time to start-up.
KRISTIAN FODEN-VENCIL, OPB News – http://news.opb.org/article/6377-oregon-be-site-nations-largest-wind-farm/