Palouse Wind Project Celebrates First Milestone

The Palouse Wind Project held an event yesterday that highlighted the projects first 150,000 megawatt hours generated and clean energy for the Northwest.

First Wind and Avista commemorated the generation of 150,000 megawatt hours (MWh) by the Palouse Wind project since its start of commercial operations in December 2012.  Since the project went online, it has brought significant long-term tax revenue to Whitman County while generating enough clean energy to power the homes of about 30,000 Avista customers.

Governor Jay Inslee joined industry and community leaders to celebrate the successful operation of First Wind’s Palouse project and its 150,000th MWh of generating clean, renewable energy.  Attendees gathered during a barbecue lunch at the project site in northern Whitman County, Washington. 

“There is enormous potential to grow Washington’s clean energy economy and developments like the Palouse Wind project are helping us do just that,” said Gov. Inslee.  “This project is not only creating good jobs and economic opportunity here in Eastern Washington, but it’s also generating clean, emissions-free energy.  As we work toward developing our clean and energy independent future, we’re glad to welcome projects like this one to our state.”  

As the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County, the 105 MW project features 58 state-of-the-art Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines installed between the town of Oakesdale and State Route 195 on the hills surrounding Naff Ridge. 

Avista is purchasing the energy produced by the Palouse Wind project under a 30-year power purchase agreement and is taking delivery of the power through a direct interconnection to Avista’s 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line. 

First Wind reported the following economic and environmental benefits associated with the production of the 150,000 MWh at the Palouse Wind project:

  • A major investment in Whitman County and the Inland Northwest; increased spending will benefit a wide range of local businesses and residents, including $1.5 million each year during operations.
  • Whitman County will receive approximately $12 million over the next 20 years in property tax revenues, or approximately $700,000 annually, which can be used to lower tax rates, improve schools, maintain roads and enhance local services.
  • Traditional fossil fuel generation sources producing an equivalent annual amount of electric energy would emit greenhouse gases (GHG) consisting of nearly 65,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

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