When completed the mega-hybrid Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility will consist of 300 megawatts of wind power, 50 MWs of solar power and 30 MWs of batteries for energy storage being built in eastern Oregon. It’s the first for a project of this scale in the US to combine all three energy sources, according to Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) and NextEra Energy Resources, which are developing the project.
Once completed the facility, which includes the largest solar farm in the state, will join the more 1,000 MWs of wind that’s already supplying PGE customers and will ensure that roughly 50 percent of the energy they get is carbon-free, well ahead of the state’s requirements 50 percent renewables requirement. The utility also sources about 15 percent of its energy from hydroelectric generation.
"We're moving aggressively to integrate smart grid technologies and renewable energy to give customers affordable, clean, low-carbon energy," said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO. "Wheatridge will be a model for integrating renewable generation and storage to cost-effectively reduce emissions while maintaining a reliable grid.”
The projects will be located near Lexington, Oregon, in Morrow and Umatilla Counties jointly owned by PGE and NextEra. While details for the solar project aren’t finalized, the wind farm will consist of 120 GE wind turbines and 100 megawatts of the wind power will be owned by PGE and the rest by NextEra and sold to PGE under a 30-year power purchase agreement.
"We're pleased to work with Portland General Electric on the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility, an exciting opportunity to combine wind, solar and energy storage," said Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources. "This venture will allow PGE's customers to benefit from more renewable energy over more hours of the day and create substantial economic value for the communities that host this project, many of whom stand to benefit for years to come."
The wind project will come online first, in December 2020, allowing it qualify for the full federal production tax credit. The solar and energy storage facilities are planned for construction in 2021 and will qualify for the federal investment tax credit and details haven’t been finalized though SunPower recently launched full production of solar panels in Oregon.
"Portland General Electric's decision to join with NextEra Energy Resources in constructing the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility provides both a well-earned economic boost to Eastern Oregon and an important step on our country's needed path to green energy," said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D). "I am proud to have worked with Morrow County and all the local officials who teamed up in the 'Oregon Way' spirit of finding solutions to make sure this homegrown renewable energy project could achieve this milestone."
The projects will create nearly 500 jobs during construction, 300 for wind farm and 175 for the solar farm. Once they’re completed, it’s expected they will create 10 full-time positions.Tweet