The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm, owned by Caithness Energy, is operating near Arlington, Oregon, and has the ability to generate 845 Megawatts of clean energy per year. A kick-off event marked the official commissioning of the wind farm.
“This is a great day for Gilliam and Morrow counties, for Oregon, and for the rest of the United States,” said Senator Wyden, who attended the ceremony. “This project proves that we can create jobs and lift up the rural economy by generating clean, carbon-free, renewable energy while still allowing local ranchers to graze their herds on the surrounding land just as they have for generations. That’s why I fought so hard to make sure Shepherds Flat stayed on track, and why I’m proud to be standing here today.”
Many of the state’s political leaders were on hand for the “first turn of the wind turbine” including Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Oregon Representative Greg Walden. The wind farm is one of the largest wind farms in the world. According to Caithness Energy, the wind farm will eliminate 1.483 million metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 260,000 cars off the road. Producing an estimated 2 billion kWh each year, the wind farm will have an annual economic impact of $37 million for the state. Additionally, the project employed over 400 workers during its construction, and will permanently employ 45 workers.
The commissioning of Caithness Shepherds Flat could be one of the last new wind farms to go online this year if the Production Tax Credit (PTC) is not extended. Many wind manufacturing companies have already begun to lay off vital workers due to industry uncertainty. But at least for today, the industry has something positive to celebrate and an example of how the wind energy industry is benefiting America in many ways.
“Caithness Shepherds Flat is a prime example of smart energy – energy that simultaneously bolsters the economy, creates American jobs, and enhances our environment for future generations,” added Derrel Grant, Vice President of Development at Caithness Energy. “By utilizing domestic renewable energy, Caithness Shepherds Flat will help make our country energy independent and our economy prosperous.”